Making Tesla S-3-X-Y

The Tesla Model Y Is Hitting the Streets. Here’s Everything You Need to Know


March 17, 2020 Cars By
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Roughly a year ago, Elon Musk revealed Tesla’s new Model Y crossover, the smaller-than-Model X electric SUV that shares much of its underpinnings with the revolutionary Model 3 sedan. (He once helpfully noted that his models spelled out S-3-X-Y instead of S-E-X-Y because of a trademark claim from Ford — or, as he put it, “Ford killed sex.“)

Tesla expects the Model Y to be a breakthrough vehicle for the company, as it’ll appeal to crossover buyers, who exist in far higher numbers than sedan purchasers these days.  While Tesla originally expected the Model Y to hit the streets this fall, the company was able to fast-track development of the Model Y; as a result, deliveries started this past weekend.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tesla’s new compact SUV.

The Model Y currently costs more than $50,000

Tesla is currently selling two versions of the Model Y. The Long Range model starts at $52,990, with an EPA-estimated range of 316 miles and a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds. The Performance model begins at $60,990; it also has a 315-mile range, but an improved 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. Both are all-wheel-drive.

A standard range rear-wheel-drive base model, starting around $40,000 and offering a 230-mile range, should show up in 2021. Tesla’s federal tax credit has expired, so unlike some other EVs you can score a discount on from the feds, those are the prices you’ll pay.

The Model Y will seat up to seven passengers, in 2021.

Tesla is currently selling Model Y models in a two-row, five-seat configuration. The third row that brings an additional two seats will be a $3,000 option, but it won’t be available until 2021. As with other compact seven-seaters such as the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class and the Volkswagen Tiguan, expect that third row to be tight.

The Model Y is bigger than the Model 3

The Model Y looks a lot like the Model 3, and shares about 75 percent of its parts. But there are significant differences between the two cars. The Model Y owners’ manual revealed the final vehicle specs: it is 7.1 inches taller than the Model 3, 2.8 inches wider and 2.2 inches longer, with a ride height that’s 1.1 inches higher. The Model Y’s wheelbase is 0.6 inches longer, as well.

The Model Y has an off-roading mode

To help distinguish it from the Model 3, the Model Y has an Off-Road Assist mode. This mode allows for more gradual torque application for low-speed crawling, and balances the torque between the front and rear to improve traction. Still, remember: it’s a road-biased crossover, not an electric Wrangler.

The Model Y is designed for cold weather.

A common critique of EVs is they work great in temperate (i.e. Californian) climates, but that range suffers dramatically in the cold. The Model Y uses a heat pump to more efficiently heat the cabin, which should give the Model Y better range in cold weather.

The Model Y may get a tow rating, eventually.

The Model Y has an official tow rating of zero in the U.S. However, the Tesla blog Tesmanian found evidence of an eventual Trailer Mode. Tesla could add that via software update and give the Model Y a rating for 3,200 pounds…at least, in Canada.

 

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Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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