New 2020 Tesla Model Y electric car enters production

The Tesla Model Y has entered production, with the first examples due to reach US customers at the end of spring

The all-new Tesla Model Y crossover has entered the first phase of production at the company’s facility in Fremont, California. Tesla says the first examples will reach American customers at the end of spring this year.

UK and European customers will have to wait a little longer for the Model Y, because Tesla’s current estimates place delivery dates for these regions at the end of summer. When it does eventually arrive in the UK, the Tesla Model Y will be priced from around £36,000.

• Tesla Model Y: passenger ride review

The update was issued in the company’s yearly financial report, alongside Tesla’s projected sales figures. Currently, the Fremont facility is churning out Model 3s and Model Ys at a combined rate of 400,000 annual units – but once the company has finished upgrading its production lines, that number is expected to swell to a total of 500,000 units.

Tesla also aims to start construction of the Model Y at its plant in Shanghai later this year, at a capacity of 150,000 annual units. The company is also preparing its European production site in Berlin-Brandenburg, which is set to deliver its first customer vehicles in 2021.

In addition, Tesla has fiddled with the Model Y’s powertrain and battery pack, increasing the Dual Motor AWD variant’s maximum claimed WLTP range from 280 miles to 314 miles – giving it an extra 35 miles of range over the 62kWh Hyundai Kona electric. The upgrade means the Model Y has one of the longest claimed ranges of any electric car on the market.

New 2020 Tesla Model Y: pricing and performance

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, confirmed the Model Y’s pricing structure and performance specs during its online launch. The line-up opens with a rear-wheel-drive “Standard Range” variant, which will go on sale in Spring 2021 with a top speed of 120mph, a 0–60mph time of 5.9 seconds, a 230-mile range and a price-tag of $39,000 (around £29,500).

A “Long Range” variant, with a larger-capacity battery pack, will be available from the Model Y’s launch, carrying a price-tag of $48,000 (roughly £36,000). Musk claims it will have a higher 130mph top speed, a faster 0–60mph time of 5.5 seconds and an increased usable all-electric range of around 300 miles. Like the base-model, it will also be rear-wheel-drive.

Musk has previously confirmed that the Model Y will share around 75 percent of its components with the Model 3 saloon, including its platform. To achieve its maximum claimed range of 314 miles, it’s also likely that the Model Y will use the same 75kWh battery pack as the Tesla Model 3 Performance.

The newly updated Tesla Model Y “Dual Motor AWD” will also be available from the car’s launch, priced from $52,000 (almost £40,000). The car’s top speed and 0–60mph time stand a 135mph and 4.8 seconds respectively, while range is an estimated 314 miles.

Tesla’s range-topping Model Y “Performance” will be priced from $61,000 (about £46,000) and will boast an estimated WLTP range of 298 miles, a top speed of 150mph and a claimed 0–60mph time of 3.5 seconds. Given Tesla’s parts-sharing strategy, it’s likely that the range-topping Model Y will use the same drivetrain as the Model 3 Performance, offering an output of around 450bhp.

New 2020 Tesla Model Y: design and interior

The styling of Tesla’s baby SUV is inspired by its larger sibling, the Model X. It retains the X’s four-door silhouette, blanked-off radiator grille, pair of narrow LED headlights and neat ducktail spoiler. However, the ‘Falcon Wing’ doors have been omitted, probably for reasons of cost and complexity.

Most of the Model Y’s interior is lifted from the Model 3. Features include a minimalist dashboard, a panoramic glass roof, a wireless smartphone charger and an enormous 15-inch, centre-mounted infotainment screen, which controls everything on the car; from its navigation system to its glove-box lid.

Like the Model X, the Model Y offers seating for up to seven, thanks to a pair of stowable seats behind the second row. However, Musk confirmed the extra seating will only be available as an optional extra.

Musk claims that the Model Y “will have the functionality of an SUV, but the capability of a sports car,” promising neat handling, thanks to its low-mounted battery pack. It also has a drag coefficient of 0.23, making it more streamlined than a Toyota Prius.

What are your thoughts on the new Tesla Model Y? Let us know in the comments section below…

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