At a quick Los Angeles event, Tesla announces the 300-mile-range Model Y

At a quick Los Angeles event, Tesla announces the 300-mile-range Model Y

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Tonight in Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype version of the Model Y, the fourth mass-produced vehicle that the electric car maker will bring to market. The vehicle, as expected, will be a larger, SUV-version of the Model 3, much like the Model X was the larger, SUV-version of the Model S.

Musk revealed very few details about the upcoming car, but a few key figures stuck out: the 300-mile, long-range version of the vehicle will go into production in Fall 2020 with an MSRP of $47,000. The 230-mile, standard version will cost $37,000 and go into production in Spring 2021, according to Musk. The Y will seat seven people with 66 cubic feet of storage space.

The vehicle will also have the option of a dual-motor all wheel drive option and a performance option, at an additional cost.

The CEO also remarked that the vehicle could achieve 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, and he added that the vehicle would have a very low center of gravity, as is common with most electric vehicles with batteries under their floor. The car has a with a .23 drag coefficient.

The Model Y will have a panoramic glass roof, much like that on the Model 3, and it will come with autopilot. “The cool thing is …it’ll be able to do basically anything by the end of this year just with software upgrades,” Musk said, without elaborating.

Press information noted that the Y “is also compatible with our current Supercharger network of more than 12,000 Superchargers in 36 countries, as well as our new V3 Superchargers which can charge at rates up to 1,000 miles per hour.”

At the end of his presentation, Musk claimed that the Model Y would probably sell more “than X and 3 combined.”

The past before the future

The event at Tesla’s Design Studio was very quick, with most of Musk’s stage time centering around a retrospective of the company’s accomplishments since 2008. “There was a time when electric cars seemed very stupid and it wasn’t that long ago,” Musk told the audience. “Now we’ve made about 550,000 cars.”

The CEO predicted that in 12 months, the company will hit 1 million cars shipped.

Musk also turned his attention to the solar roof, a project that has languished since its announcement despite significant hype when it launched. “This is definitely going to be the year of the solar roof and power wall,” Musk said, explaining that Model 3 production challenges prevented the company from spending more resources on solar and battery projects. “2018 felt like aging 5 years in one… thank you for supporting Tesla through this difficult period,” the CEO joked.

But now that Tesla has shown some stability in Model 3 production numbers, the Model Y will give the company a new challenge.

The Y is intended to be the spiritual successor to the Model 3, which went into production in mid-2017. Tesla struggled to churn out Model 3 vehicles as quickly as Musk promised investors, especially in the two quarters following the Model 3’s production-line announcement.

The Y, Tesla has asserted in the past, will not suffer the Model 3’s production issues, because it’s an SUV built on the same platform as the 3. The Model 3, on the other hand, drew little from the engineering of the Model S and X vehicles, so building it required new processes, made more difficult by Musk attempting to automate as many parts of the assembly line as he could. (Musk has admitted this himself on many quarterly earnings calls.)

Noticeably absent from the design of the Model Y are any falcon-wing doors, which Musk promised back in 2015 as the Model X was coming out. The falcon-wing doors on the Model X were plagued with problems and ended up being an overly-costly addition to the design of the luxury SUV.

Listing image by Tesla

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