Tesla has opened another front in its war on mainstream manufacturers by unveiling a family-orientated compact SUV.
Called the Model Y, it is thought to be the completion of the US car maker’s S3XY range (get it? Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y).
With an official range of up to 300 miles, and a low price of from $39,000 (about £30,000), the Model Y is the latest shot across the bows of the car companies as all-electric Tesla tries to reposition itself as a mass manufacturer.
The car will go head to head against other EVs (electric vehicles) here, but particularly higher-end marques like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-Tron.
Tesla boss, the billionaire Elon Musk, unveiled the new car in the past week, and hinted at a bunch of new Tesla products.
Tesla describes the Model Y as an “all-electric, mid-size SUV designed for maximum versatility and safety”.
It will come in four versions – Standard Range, Long Range, Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive, and range-topping Performance ($60,000 – about £45,000).
There will be seven-seat versions and the fastest variants will go from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of up to 150 mph.
The version with the Standard Battery will have an official 230 miles of range, while Model Y Long Range will be able to travel up to 300 miles on a single charge.
The Model Y is also compatible with the current Supercharger network (30 mins for a charge) well as the company’s new V3 Superchargers which can charge at rates up to 1,000 miles per hour.
Inside, the Model Y offers a panoramic glass roof and high seating plus a front boot and rear boot and and split-folding second-row seats.
The car connects with the Tesla Mobile app for unique, easy-to-access features like remote unlock, Summon, remote pre-conditioning, location tracking, Speed Limit Mode, and much more.
Tesla says the Model Y is designed to be “the safest mid-size SUV”. It has a low centre of gravity, rigid body structure and large crumple zones.
Deliveries are expected to begin in autumn or winter 2020 for Performance, Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive, and Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive variants, and early 2021 for the Model Y Standard Range.
2019: The good news is that Northern Ireland is scheduled to get its first Supercharger this year – at Lisburn – to add to 12 existing (and slower) destination charging points. No precise location has officially been confirmed on Tesla’s supercharger network web page but it’s likely to be either the M1 service station or at Sprucefield.
Also, we’ll see the first UK customer deliveries of the Model 3 small saloon (Model X large SUVs have already been spotted in NI).
2020: A second generation roadster will be released, and the Model Y will go on sale. By then we should also have sight of the Tesla HGV full-sized truck and the Tesla Pick-up. Elon Musk also signalled he expects to see a Tesla minibus by year’s end as well.