Tesla’s Model Y crossover to offer 482-km range, 7 seats

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s dream of making a smaller and more affordable SUV than the Model X – and completing the Tesla Model _ lineup so it can spell S-3-X-Y – has officially become a reality.

The new Model Y is a mid-size crossover SUV with a battery range of 482 km; an option for three rows and seven seats; a zero-to-97 km/h sprint as low as 3.5 seconds; and a starting price point of US$39,000, equivalent to $52,000 CAD, though no Canadian pricing has been released.

Musk personally revealed Tesla’s newest baby at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California on Thursday night, livestreaming the experience on its website.

It was classic awkward-but-enthusiastic Elon, with some exuberant contributions from the crowd. Musk ushered in the entire range of Tesla vehicles by way of introduction, before giving an update on factories, supercharger stations, solar panels and more.

After what he referred to as his “extended history lesson,” the Model X was brought out and the initial specs given. (Note: you should be able to catch the livestream here on Tesla’s YouTube channel sometime in the near future if you missed it.)

As it was intended to be the compact-SUV take on the Model 3 –not unlike the Model X was to the larger Model S – the Model Y’s design shares much in common with Tesla’s smaller sedan. No real shockers here—all four passenger doors are normal, not in the X’s expensive “Falcon” style, and the body sits a little higher than the Model 3’s. It’s a crossover, don’t forget.

tesla model y 2 Teslas Model Y crossover to offer 482 km range, 7 seats

The Tesla Model Y

Inside, that translates to 1.9 cubic metres of cargo space underneath the panoramic glass; and, in what might be the biggest twist of the evening, an optional third row that adds another two seats. The move is likely to be well-received by the three-row-SUV-crazed masses in North America.

The interior, which is highly reminiscent of the Model 3’s, comes black as standard, but for US$1,000 Tesla will make it black and white, with white seats and white dash trim.

With its battery pack on the floor, the Model Y manages a 0.23 drag coefficient; and, in the top trim, acceleration to 97 km/h takes three and a half seconds. Top speed is 209 km/h, and Musk also assures that it “ride[s] like a sports car… really tight in corners.”

There are four variants in the Model Y lineup. The most affordable option, the Standard Range model, will drive 370 km per charge and top out at 193 km/h, with a zero-to-100 km/h time of 5.9 seconds. That costs US$39,000, but won’t be available until spring 2021.

For US$47,000, there’s the Long Range model, available fall 2020, which manages a range of 480 km, a top speed of 209 km/h and a 5.5-second zero-to-100 km/h time.

The Dual Motor AWD (US$51,000) gets 450 km per charge, a top speed of 217 km/h, and a zero-to-100 km/h run in 4.8 seconds—it’s also available fall of 2020.

And completing the lineup is the Dual Motor Performance model, also with 450 km of range and also with a release date of next fall, but this time with a trim-topping top speed of 240 km/h and zero-to-100 km/h sprint of 3.5 seconds. It also gets 20-inch wheels with performance brakes, a carbon-fibre wing, lower suspension, the brand’s Track Mode and more, for a price starting at US$60,000.

Musk told the crowd at the reveal these numbers represented the hopeful worst-case scenario. “You never know, we might do better than this. It should be at least this good,” he said.

But as soon as you start tacking on the fun stuff like the “full self-driving capability” that’s supposed to be production-ready later in 2019, things get pricier. That feature costs US$5,000 on top of the US$3,000 required for the basic Autopilot feature. The seven-seat configuration will also cost a US$3,000 premium.

Tesla’s online configurator reveals five available paint options: Black, Midnight Silver Metallic (US$1,500), Deep Blue Metallic (US$1,500), Pearl White Multi-Coat (US$2,000) and Red Multi-Coat (US$2,500).

Price aside, Tesla clearly has high hopes for the Model Y. Musk stated he expects the company to “probably do more Y than S, X, and 3 [sales] combined.”

Pre-orders for the Model Y are now open. Expect more details to arrive soon via the usual means: Elon’s Twitter feed.

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