By on March 15, 2019

Image: Tesla

Perhaps to give journalists a taste of what it’s like to be a Tesla reservation holder, Tesla’s Model Y launch event, scheduled for 11 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, started late. When it did, CEO Elon Musk launched into a rundown of his company’s well-documented history.

There were a few admissions during his speech, including this telling statement:

“I really think the difficulty and value of manufacturing is underappreciated,” Musk said, echoing a sentiment hurled in his direction since the start of Model 3 production. “It’s relatively easy to make a prototype and extremely difficult to mass manufacture a vehicle reliably and at scale.”

Promises uttered by Musk during his preamble included building a million cars next year and taking the company to Mars in a decade.

Image: Tesla

Then it was time for the main event — one many found lacking. The compact Model Y crossover looks very much like the model on which it based. Sharing a host of kit with the Model 3, the Model Y could be mistaken for its sedan cousin at a distance, despite its dimensions being about 10 percent larger.

It’s very … sedan-like, though the liftback gives it away. There’s a body and ride lift, too (See Bozi Tatarevic’s helpful comparison below). Would you believe this thing can be had in a three-row variant? It’s true. And the third row is forward facing. Adults, and probably kids, will have to slouch.

 

It’s five seats only for the base, rear-drive $39,000 version. Seven-passenger seating will cost you an extra $3,000. Range amounts to 230 miles in base trim, or 300 miles in the rear-drive, $47,000 Long Range version. Both of these prices are sans a $1,200 destination fee. As you probably expected, the pricier model sees the light of day first, with Musk claiming deliveries start in late 2020. The base version should trundle along “sometime” in 2021.

Keep in mind that a production site still isn’t officially locked down, and base Model 3 reservation holders are still waiting for their vehicles three years after the model’s launch.

Joining the Long Range model in the fall of 2020 are two money makers: a Dual Motor AWD model and a Performance variant, each with 280 miles of range. The former model is $51k before destination; the latter, $60k. If the Model 3 saga taught us anything, it’s that the cash inflow from higher-spec trims is required to offset a Standard Range model that may or may not be profitable.

Anyway, there’s numerous ways to add expense to your Model Y purchase. Adding Autopilot to either version is a $3,000 proposition, and Tesla’s “full self driving capability” promise package will warrant another $5,000. Lining up a Model Y requires a $2,500 deposit, meaning Tesla can expect a new cash stream starting last night.

While it’s assumed that Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory will eventually expand to accomodate Model Y production, no confirmation came from Musk at the launch event. The CEO did say the battery assembly facility is only a third of its planned footprint.

[Images: Tesla]

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73 Comments on “Tesla Model Y: Industry Watchers Remain Cynical As Fans Gird Their Loins...”


  • avatar
    la834

    First impressions:

    – It looks almost exactly like I expected it would – a taller Model 3, or a baby Model X

    – I say “almost” because it’s missing the chrome window frame. It needs it.

    – Likewise, interior is a clone of the Model 3, only a bit taller.

    – This *is* a hatchback, right? Biggest advantage over the 3.

    – Not surprised there’s an RWD version, despite much of the media betting against it.

    – Am surprised a third-row seat available though. Late availability BTW.

    – How much longer can Tesla get away with charging $3000 for autopilot features that are rapidly becoming standard on other cars? Or for colored paint?

    – This will be a huge hit. Small upscale crossovers are the meat of the market rn.

    • 0 avatar

      Many brands charge for paint colors to some degree. Same with other “options” that we feel should be standard. It’s just a way to advertise a base model, and base model lease payments, but charge everyone a little more when they actually pick out a car.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        Several luxury brands charge an extra $695 for metallic paint instead of black, white, or red (despite the mainstream brands made by the same manufacturers offering metallic paint for no upcharge), but Tesla charges $1,500 for blue or grey, $2,000 for white, and $2,500 for red. That’s a bit steep.

  • avatar

    It has the same unfortunate frumpy look as the Model X. Tesla’s sedan are lookers, but Tesla’s two attempts at S/CUV’s are their ugly step-sisters. So how are people supposed to fit in the optional 3rd row? Do they have to lie down and be stacked on top of one another? A more squared off rear would have not only looked better, but allow non-headless occupants to actually sit in the 3rd row without crouching.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Yes, but there is no way to achieve a low cd with a more square roof. As much as I prefer Audi eTron shape, I understand why Tesla shapes it’ cars like a water drop.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @mjz,

      Yes, it’s like another person wrote in a different blog. It “looks like a hippie took a fart in a Model 3.”

      So in 2+ years they won’t even be able to figure out how to put in the “automatic hatch release” function that most every CUV in the world has now? What will the hipster mommies do with an armful of groceries? Delivery.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    This car looks exactly like a successful Prius V alternative should look.

    Like a Mazda.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Very predictable. Incredibly ugly front end. Possibly the most boring interior ever.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Boring interior or minimalist, ultra clean, futuristic modern design? Some people prefer the later. Personally the lack of buttons and moving everything to a touch screen is a step too far. Basic every day controls like stereo volume, air temp, etc should have physical button. For example changing radio stations shouldn’t require a swipe at a screen. I assume a steering wheel button handles this task but with each new car that comes out buttons are going away. Tesla has just accelerated this trend at warp speed with their giant iPad control system. I am not a fan… but it sure looks like the star-ship Enterprise this way.

    • 0 avatar

      Interior actually looks like in Crew Dragon spacecraft. No one complains that Crew Dragon has boring interior (everything is touch screen controlled if you did not know).

  • avatar
    vvk

    > Promises uttered by Musk during his preamble included building a million cars next year

    This is a lie. What he actually said was that over 500k have been made and a million will have been made by the end of this year. So over 400k this year.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    “I really think the difficulty and value of manufacturing is underappreciated,” Musk said, echoing a sentiment hurled in his direction since the start of Model 3 production. “It’s relatively easy to make a prototype and extremely difficult to mass manufacture a vehicle reliably and at scale.”

    You have to remember that Musk is speaking from/to a very rich Silicon Valley and LA crowd.

    They have limited knowledge of the world outside of California. They also largely believe that they “escaped” the RoW and became wealthy by being smarter than everyone else.

    As always, there’s enough truth in that legend that you can’t dismiss it out-of-hand, but it’s also a uselessly inacurate model of what actually built SV/LA and what makes these places different from the rest of the country in economically important ways.

    Anyway, now that we have the context, the idea that manufacurering at scale is harder than it looks is a profoundly humble statement. It translates roughly to “your [email protected]$$ brother-in-law back in Iowa with degrees in engineering and business who’s a senior manager at a John Deere combine harvester factory for a mere $180k/year has a harder job than I thought”. He knew that but didn’t rub your face in it at Thanksgiving, now you know it too.

    But this is how it is in California. As a tech guy from not-California who’s spent months of my life traveling to SV for business, this kind of ignorant condescension is thick enough you can cut it with a knife. And, yet, I’m there to get things done, so petty bu11$#!t must be put aside because it has nothing to do with my reason for being there.

    SV/LA are like that, at least within the tech crowd. The weather’s nice, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I had the fun experience of being on the hiring side of the table with an SV startup at a job fair at the University of Illinois back in 2015.

      We were about 50 yards from the Caterpillar booth. The line of hopeful young mechanical engineers from all over the world with resumes-in-hand reached well past our table. And, no, most of them weren’t too interested in talking to a software company.

      My colleagues were rather surprised that Catarpillar is considered a premier world-class employer. They are headquartered in Peoria after all — yes, that Peoria. My colleagues were puzzled about how the f*ck a bulldozers excite engineers and change the world.

      The truth is that most smart engineers and businesss people on earth don’t want to build websites and mobile apps, and so never cross paths with my old SV colleagues.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “You have to remember that Musk is speaking from/to a very rich Silicon Valley and LA crowd.

      They have limited knowledge of the world outside of California. They also largely believe that they “escaped” the RoW and became wealthy by being smarter than everyone else.”

      all the more reason to let them secede. Wonder how much they’ll pay for water?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As if wealthy folks outside California know all the ins and outs of car manufacturing?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        We’re not talking about the ins and outs of car manufacturing.

        We’re talking about these folks understanding that manufacturing at scale requires experience and expertise.

        SV has an incredible amount of software expertise concentrated in a very small geographic area, because employers have been paying electrical/software engineers to move there continuously since WWII. When you’re there, it’s easy to believe that every smart person in the world is there. It’s also very insular — so people who are arrogant ant clueless are not corrected through interaction with the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    So if I wanted a model 3 many many years ago, I put down a grand for my “35,000” car and today if I want to receive a spot in the line for a “39,000” Y I gotta put down $2500? wow inflation is getting out of control.
    So I lend Elon $2500 for a spot in the que to build something that he admits is hard to build , a production car or CUV, and as of today he does not even have a spot to start building these this. maybe Nevada where car companies go to die , maybe tent city outside the old GM plant, maybe mars ??
    I have no idea how long it takes to build a car factory but this seems a little much, do I at least get a flame thrower with me deposit ?????

    • 0 avatar
      theBrandler

      Why bother with a reservation? History has now shown us that you will be able to buy one without a reservation at about the same time the reservations holders are allowed to because no one cashes in their reservations because they can’t actually afford the darn things.

      So if you want one, just wait. You won’t have to wait longer than the suckers ponying over $2500 right now.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Interest free loan from it’s customers. Good business if you can get into it.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Not really.

        The interest generated by holding 2-5% of the value of a product for 2 years is almost nothing. For my cancelled Model 3 reservation, Tesla made maybe $100 instead of me.

        As a way to demonstrate commitment, lots of projects require some up-front money before a product is produced.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I was surprised to wake up this morning and see what it actually was.
    Weak sauce.
    I guess all the excitement has shifted to the Tesla pickup truck division.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m a Tesla fan, and the Model Y didn’t rock my world, either.

      It’s the electric offspring of a Mazda5 and a Prius.

      On the other hand, it really is what it is supposed to be. And that’s a good thing.

      I’ll be cross shopping the Model Y against the Pacifica PHEV and the Explorer PHEV. My daily driving is typically 20-30 miles, and so I could accomplish 90% of my miles gas free. All three vehicles are surprisingly close in price when equipped the way we want. Kid-seating and towing will likely differentiate the winner.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        > I’ll be cross shopping the Model Y against the Pacifica PHEV and the Explorer PHEV.

        They are in very different market segments, IMHO. But hopefully Chrysler will make Portal a reality next year:

        https://cleantechnica.com/2018/09/18/chrysler-schedules-portal-electric-minivan-for-production/

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Market segments are an attempt to describe the market. The market has no obligation to follow the segmentation scheme. Buyers are trying to solve problems.

          I’m looking for a (mostly) gasoline-free 3-row family hauler. These vehicles look different and have different capabilities, but they are the ones which meet this requirement in a serious way — which, in my case, means volume production with local post-sale support.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Market segments are an attempt to describe the market. The market has no obligation to follow the segmentation scheme. Buyers are trying to solve problems.

          I’m looking for a (mostly) gasoline-free 3-row family hauler. These vehicles look different and have different capabilities, but they are the ones which meet this requirement in a serious way — which, in my case, means volume production with local post-sale support.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I like the S, but the 3 has a duck look. This falls in the latter camp.

    quack quack!

    • 0 avatar

      Same here Model S is a cool car every other Tesla is really kind of ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        The pre-refresh Model S was handsome and dignified. The post-refresh, not so much.

        Had one pass me in a parking lot yesterday. The quietness of its silent motor was ruined by “squeak SQUEEK, squeek SQUEEK”. Lol

        • 0 avatar
          z9

          The squeaking sound is likely the brakes vs. the 21″ wheels at very low speeds. I was told by Tesla there was nothing they could do about it.

          Doesn’t really bother me any more. And yeah if a car can excite someone’s sense of schadenfreude with a stupid brake noise that’s always cool.

  • avatar
    incautious

    wow tesla reintroduces the Aztec. Musk is a genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    theBrandler

    Alright, I’m going to admit it, I didn’t realize the pictures here were of the Model Y.I thought they were all Model 3 pictures – I just assumed that there was some media blackout so we get Model 3 pictures instead.

    So in short, they did just as bad of an exterior design job on this as the Model X….

  • avatar
    vvk

    From my car enthusiast perspective:

    — love the 5-door hatchback body style. What M3 should have been
    — amazing amount of room for such as small footprint
    — 7 seat option is an absolute dream come true (kids + old parents)
    — huge hatch/frunk
    — taller doors for easier entry (like Honda Fit, Scion xB, etc.)
    — very low to the ground — ground clearance looks the same as M3
    — 18″ wheels — thank god! I was afraid it would be 19″ minimum
    — mind boggling performance even in base model. And 3.5 sec for MYP is unreal
    — rear wheel drive!!!!!! !!!!!! (sorry, cannot emphasize this enough)
    — safety first

    EXTREMELY disappointed about the glass roof. I guess I will just have to put some mirror tint on it.

    A little bit of bad news for the haters: the ordering web site broke from the volume of orders being placed. Eat your hearts out.

    • 0 avatar
      rev0lver

      “A little bit of bad news for the haters: the ordering web site broke from the volume of orders being placed. Eat your hearts out.”

      So you’re bragging because a Silicon Valley car company had a website that crashed?

      Knowing how Tesla operates, my guess is that the website was designed to crash regardless of actual traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “mind boggling performance even in base model.”

      I disagree with that. 120mph and 5.9 0-60 for $39K. That’s pretty much what you’re getting with a Passport or Blazer V6. The Edge ST is a few ticks faster and stars at $42K.

      The RWD is a nice touch though.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “The ordering web site broke from the volume of orders being placed”

      And this is why you dont let autopilot run your site!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Two words: it’ll sell.

    Otherwise, it’s yet another CUV. Yawn.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      No doubt.

      Tesla stock is off sharply this morning and one report stated that Wall Street is concerned the Y will cut into Model 3 sales. Duh. Welcome to the auto industry where the CUV eats sales volume of sedans.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    They need to go back to the original Model S front end or at least design a new front end, that front end has never grown on me and continues to look wrong to the point it hurts the flow of the rest of the car.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    what is the point in SUV with a rounded back?

    looks like another overpriced, useless, ugly duckling by Tesla

  • avatar
    syncro87

    Tesla has an odd fascination with the Volkswagen 411.

    http://carsot.com/images/volkswagen-type-4-i-411-1968-1973-sedan-interior-4.jpg

  • avatar
    65corvair

    It’s a hatchback! Not a SUV. Another fail.

  • avatar
    TimK

    A $60K almost-CUV? — sure, that’ll sell like hot cakes.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “extremely difficult to mass manufacture a vehicle reliably and at scale.”

    Yea we know. Sadly you do not…which is why Teslas have amazingly low quality.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Do Tesla fans wear tunics? This is the question I have for Steph in regard to “As Fans Gird Their Loins”.
    Are Tesla fans preparing for battle? Will they be battling the Y?

  • avatar
    1500cc

    For all of Musk’s desire to upend the retail model of the car biz, it’s too bad he keeps the cheesy “destination fee” add-on to suck out a few more hundred above the retail price that gets advertised.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Every carmaker does that.

      For example, here are the disclaimers from the Kia Soul website:

      “Starting MSRP” is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for base model trim. Soul EX with optional Designer Collection package shown – priced higher at $24,190 MSRP. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary. Some options shown may not be available on all trims.

      Kia Motors reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages and models. Not responsible for typographical and computer errors.”

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        It’s a missed opportunity for Tesla. If they buried that cost, they could claim they’re taking a simple pricing approach like Southwest Airlines does when they don’t ding you for checking a bag.

        “We respect our customers enough to not play games with pricing destination fees.”

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I agree, back in the old days the destination fee did represent the actual cost of shipping. It did vary geographically because fact is it is cheaper to ship a vehicle 200mi than it is to ship it 1200mi.

          Now it is one price no matter where in the lower 48 states, not sure about AK & HI. So might as well wrap it all up in the MSRP.

          Taxes and license of course can’t be advertised at the national level since those vary greatly depending on where you buy it and where you “garage it”.

      • 0 avatar
        1500cc

        @
        SCE to AUX

        Of course, that’s my point. If it’s a cost that everyone has to pay, is part of the cost of doing business, and can’t be avoided, then it should be baked in (like it is on virtually every other consumer good). Or maybe they should start separating out other fees to keep a low MSRP: “Tesla 3 is only $35,000 … plus $1200 delivery … plus $2000 to ship parts to the factory… plus $3500 for assembly … plus $500 for charging the battery”

        Naturally this applies to all automakers. But Tesla is trying to position themselves as being something different, something more enlightened. Except when it comes to old-school cash grabs.

        As an aside, Ontario recently forced automakers to include all non-avoidable costs (except taxes) in the price they advertise, and it’s been a nice change. They also did it for live-event tickets; no more surprise $75 TicketMaster fees discovered upon checkout.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Now I understand your point, and I agree.

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          Hear, hear! I also think that the “destination fee” is absurd. They won’t let you pick the car up in person, and shipping a vehicle almost anywhere in the lower 48 costs less than the typical destination fee, so it’s really just a hidden part of the price. This Ontario law sounds like a good idea.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Most dealers I’ve seen tack on an administration fee too. I think on my son’s car it was something like $400.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I bet Space X gets to mars before Tesla sells 1,000,000 per year.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I want this to succeed. I want Tesla to sell 500K of these a year for no other reason than to make the 5-door hatchback cool again.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      The 5-door hatchback already is cool. Maybe you didn’t notice the Audi A5/S5, A7/S7, BMW 440i Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-AMG GT53, or Tesla’s own Model S. Someone out there must be willing to pay lots of $$$$ for a sleek 5-door hatchback.

  • avatar
    la834

    The 5-door hatchback already is cool. Maybe you didn’t notice the Audi A5/S5, A7/S7, BMW 440i Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-AMG GT53, or Tesla’s own Model S. Someone out there must be willing to pay lots of $$$$ for a sleek 5-door hatchback.

  • avatar
    jatz

    It actually manages to make the model 3 look good.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    So its a vertically stretched model 3 with a sharply slanted liftback limiting its utility. Great.

    I’m looking forward to seeing if and when Tesla has the capital for a major restyle of its vehicle lineup. If they don’t, Musk and Co will be stuck with vehicles that will grow familiar and stale in the public eye as competitors continue to introduce fresher and (probably) more reliable electric models.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “a sharply slanted liftback limiting its utility”

      I’m afraid that given current battery development *nobody* will be able to make a usefully voluminous EV due to their being trapped in a race for boastable range which is the implacable enemy of utility.

      • 0 avatar
        MKizzy

        Perhaps, but giving up 5-10 miles of range is a small compromise for a more useful shape. Besides, having a more upright hatch profile didn’t seem to hurt the Chevy Bolt’s range much. The Y’s design is just as much due to Tesla’s fear of ruining its signature look as it is maximizing driving range.

  • avatar
    amca

    Musk completely blew the introduction. Couldn’t get on the company’s feed for the intro show. A tech company couldn’t live stream a major product introduction.

    So I wound up watching it on some tech blogger’s live-stream. Elon was up there rambling on and on and on, saying whatever popped into his head. The stage was dark and very crowded, so it was impossible to actually see the new Model Y.

    D minus grade. Made Tesla look amateurish. I kept thinking: too many people in the company have been fired by Musk, or walked out because Musk is nuts. And this is what you get when there are no professionals left in the company.


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