Tesla Unveils 7-Seater Model Y

Cheers from a hangar-packed crowd of Tesla customers, employees and members of the media welcomed a blue Model Y as it rolled out onto a stage next to the automaker's other models. 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. Just like the Model 3, the Model Y is equipped with a panorama glass roof.

There will also be a more expensive version of the Model Y, The Verge reported, with a price tag of US$51,000 that will feature an all-wheel drive and a dual motor. The 230-mile standard version will cost $37,000 and go into production in Spring 2021, according to Musk. And as you can see by the vehicle's styling, it looks like a Model 3 from almost every angle, only with a taller greenhouse and a hatchback instead of a trunk.

Tesla further highlights that "Standard Range production is expected to begin in early 2021", and yes, the Model Y will be manufactured in China too.

Model Y will be based on the same architectural platform as the Model 3, the entry level Tesla, with which it also shares 75 percent of its parts. "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.

Tesla is now going through hard times, with Musk charged by the SEC with contempt for tweeting "inaccurate and material" information about the company. We don't know for sure where Model Y will be built, besides Tesla's new, under-construction Chinese plant but it seems increasingly clear that it won't simply be cranked out in huge volumes next to the Model 3 at Fremont.

Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y

The US-based automaker claims a zero to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) sprint time of just 3,5 seconds for the fastest derivative, along with a top speed of up to 150 miles per hour (that's 241 km/h). Competition is heating up, however, and the new Model Y will seek to carve a larger slice of the SUV pie. The usable range will be around 300 miles. But last week, Tesla reversed course and said it would leave many stores open and raised prices back by about 3 per cent.

Tesla's Autopilot driver assist system is an option for $3,000, and Tesla continues to advertise future full self-driving capability for $5,000.

With the Model Y, Tesla has finally unveiled the last vehicle in its "S3XY "roadmap".

We aren't exactly sure why anyone needs to go from a standing start to that type of speed in under 4-seconds but if you do, and you want to embrace electric vehicles, then Model Y should definitely be on your radar for next year.

Shares of Tesla are down 24 per cent from an August high of $379.57, when Musk tweeted that he was taking Tesla private. Ordering the vehicle requires a $2500 (R36 250) refundable deposit.

  • Wendy Palmer