In a note to investors on Friday, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the new Model Y a "potential game changer". This auto has a range of 320 miles, accelerates to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and can go as fast as 130 mph.
From top to bottom, Ives views the Model Y and its focus on the "hot SUV crossover market" as a "smart and strategic move by Musk & Co".
The Model Y will have a panoramic glass roof, much like that on the Model 3, and it will come with autopilot. The more powerful versions thus offer slightly less range than the small sedan, which is rated for 220 miles with a full charge in the least-expensive Standard Range and 325 in the Long Range version.
In terms of performance, the flagship Model Y boasts a range of 280 miles (450 km), a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
Tesla Inc's Model Y electric sports utility vehicle is pictured in this undated handout photo released on March 14, 2019.
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Problem is, cars that are slippery through the air don't tend to have the same aesthetic cues as traditional SUVs: the former are curvy, the latter squared-off and bulky. Even when the Tesla pickup arrives, it may well focus more on consumer-friendly features than a vision of off-road ruggedness inspired by decades of internal-combustion trucks.
There are four variants in the Model Y lineup. Some key executives have left the company recently. A longer-range version will cost US$47,000.
Musk alluded to the troubled production of the Model 3 during his remarks to the crowd Thursday night. Musk said that the company got a bit carried away with the Model X, creating something like "a Faberge egg meets a space ship".
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He then added: "2018 probably felt like aging five years in one". "Honestly it was really intense". Price-conscious shoppers will be able to get a Standard Range model with rear-wheel drive and 230 miles of range for $39,000, but it won't be available until spring of 2021.
Time will tell if this worry has any grounds but it's worth recalling that the Model 3 became the most sold electric vehicle in the world last year: the first full-year of production for the auto.
Tesla is hoping there will pent-up demand for the Model Y, almost four years after Musk first began touting the company's plans to make an SUV. "Twelve months from now, we will have made about a million vehicles".
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Deliveries are expected to begin in the fall of 2020. Tesla also recently backtracked on a cost-cutting decision to close all its retail stores, now saying it'll close only around half of them, and announced it is raising vehicle prices by around three percent. As is often the way with Teslas, it'll be little while before we get the Y in the United Kingdom, but who would bet against there being a glut of orders as soon as they are? Musk now says Tesla has worked out those issues. If the Model Y inspires any such passion, it hardly shows so far. and what little enthusiasm it has generated is unlikely to survive the next two years (plus the inevitable adjustment for "Elon Standard Time"). With Americans increasingly ditching sedans for crossovers and SUVs, the newest addition to Tesla's product range will play a crucial role in driving future sales.