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2021 Tesla Model Y Debuts: Here's What You Should Know

Automobile logo Automobile 3/15/2019 Ed Tahaney

a red car: 2021-Tesla-Model-Y-Performance-05.jpg
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the Model Y crossover SUV to a crowd of cellphone-wielding fans at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, California. The White Stripes' "Icky Thump" played in the background as a brilliant blue Model Y crossover glided into a spot along side a Model S, 3, and X inside the packed studio. "We are bringing back sexy, quite literally," Musk said to cheers from his fans, referencing the names of the Tesla lineup. (Ford owns the trademark on Model E, hence the Model 3 name.) For its part, the Model Y was touted as combining the functionality of a midsize crossover with the agility of a sports car.

Related Video: Tesla unveils new Model Y SUV(Provided by USA Today)


The basic model is priced at $40,200 including a $1200 destination charge. That's for the rear-drive-only Standard Range version, with rear-drive Long Range variants starting at $48,200. The Long Range can be upgraded to dual-motor all-wheel drive for $4,000 more. The Performance version will offer the most power, have standard all-wheel drive, and start at $61,200.

Like the Model 3, it will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in as quickly as 3.5 seconds.  The slowest Model Y, the Standard, will hit 60 in 5.9 seconds and have a top speed of 120 mph, while Performance buyers can expect to be able to achieve 150 mph.

a car parked on the side of a road© Automobile Magazine Staff

Range will vary from 230 to 300 miles. The Standard model of the Model Y will offer the lower number. The rear-drive Long Range is the 300-mile Model Y, while the dual-motor versions (Long Range and Performance) check in at 280 miles of range.

Standard equipment includes a panoramic glass roof. All Model Ys also get a single 15.0-inch touchscreen and split-folding seats that allow cargo room to expand to as much as 66 cubic feet. Additional cargo space is available under the hood in the frunk, while an optional $3000 third row of seats can expand capacity from five to seven passengers.

a blue car parked on the side of a road: Tesla Model Y front three quarters© Automobile Magazine Staff Tesla Model Y front three quarters

Deliveries are expected to begin in the fall of 2020. The Model Y Performance, with the Long Range and Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive variants to follow. The Standard Range Model Y will follow in the spring of 2021—fingers crossed.

The order books are open.  Deposits can be made for $2500, a notable hike over the $1000 deposit required to get in line for a Model 3 when it was announced.

a screenshot of a computer screen© Automobile Magazine Staff

The Tesla Model Y is based on the Model 3. The fifth Tesla EV—after the original Roadster, the S, the X, and the 3—shares its wheelbase, chassis, and powertrain options with the brand's current smallest model, the Model 3 sedan.

Parts commonality between the two is roughly 86 percent. That's according to the company in a January 2019 earnings call. The Models S and X share just 30 percent of their parts. The increased commonality should make the Model Y easier to integrate into current assembly processes and make it somewhat less expensive to produce.

The Model Y is about 10 percent larger than the Model 3.  The more powerful versions thus offer slightly less range than the small sedan, which is rated for 220 miles with a full charge in the least-expensive Standard Range and 325 in the Long Range version. Even with the reduced range, Tesla is predicting demand to be perhaps 50 percent higher for the Model Y than the Model 3 owing to the former's crossover body style.

a blue car parked in front of a mountain© Automobile Magazine Staff

It doesn't have falcon-wing doors. The cool rear doors, as seen on the Model X, were said to be very expensive to develop and difficult to produce, and have reportedly been troublesome for consumers. So despite Elon tweeting the Model Y would have them a few years ago, yeah, no. It doesn't.

It will be built in Shanghai and Reno. Production is slated to begin near the end of 2020 in Tesla's Gigafactories in Shanghai, China, and Reno, Nevada.


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