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Tesla brings S3XY back with Model Y

Model Y mid-size SUV makes long-awaited debut as Tesla’s second seven-seater

18 Mar 2019

TESLA’S model line-up is finally S3XY following the reveal of the Model Y mid-size SUV that can seat up to seven people, although Australian timing is yet to be confirmed.


Joining the Model S large car, Model 3 mid-sizer and Model X large SUV, the Model Y is currently available to order in the North American and Chinese markets, as well as eight European countries, but a Tesla spokesperson told GoAuto “you will be able to order (it) in additional markets soon”.


Four Model Y variants will be sold in the US, with the Long Range RWD, Long Range AWD and Performance AWD to become available in the Fall (September to November) of 2020, while the Standard Range RWD will join the line-up in the Spring (March to May) of 2021.


Given that the Model 3 has still not entered right-hand-drive production, despite Australian orders being taken for nearly three years without local pricing or specification announced, it could be some time, possibly late 2021 or early 2022, before the Model Y arrives Down Under.


For reference, the first Australian deliveries of the Model 3 are scheduled for the middle of this year, while US buyers began receiving their examples in September 2017 amidst Tesla’s well-documented “production hell”.


The entry-level Model Y, the Standard Range RWD, is priced from $US39,000 ($A55,100) in the US, making it $US4000 ($A5600) dearer than the starting price of the Model 3.


Tesla has previously promised that Australian Model 3 pricing will be the converted US cost “plus import duties and sales tax”, so if the Model Y follows suit, it could kick off around $65,000 plus on-road costs.


The Standard Range RWD has an electric motor on its rear axle and a battery pack under its floor, with the former producing a 6.3-second zero-to-100km/h sprint time and a 193km/h top speed, while the latter provides 390km of driving range on the new WLTP standard.


Stepping up to the $US47,000 ($A66,300) Long Range RWD increases the battery pack’s size and the electric motor’s output, improving the triple-digit effort to 5.8s, terminal velocity to 209km/h and distance between full charges to 540km.


The $US51,000 ($A72,000) Long Range AWD adds an electric motor to the front axle, bettering the zero-to-100km/h sprint time to 5.1s and top speed to 217km/h, but driving range takes a hit, to 505km.


Similarly, the $US60,000 ($A84,700) Performance AWD increases the outputs of the dual-motor set-up to reduce the triple-digit effort to 3.7s and improve terminal velocity to 241km/h while decreasing the distance between full charges to 480km.


Using one of Tesla’s 12,000-plus DC Superchargers (in 1400 stations across 36 countries, including Australia), 270km of driving range can be added back to the Model Y in just 15 minutes.


As the love child of the snub-nosed Model 3 and short-backed Model X, the Model Y shapes up as a slightly high-riding liftback rather than a properly high-riding wagon.


As it does in the Model 3, a 15.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system dominates the Model Y’s pared-back cabin, which accommodates five occupants as standard but can be optioned with a 2+3+2 seating layout. Either way, cargo capacity with the second row stowed stands at 1869L.


A Premium Interior package is available, with it adding satellite navigation with live traffic, Internet and Bluetooth connectivity, a 14-speaker sound system, a tinted all-glass roof, a 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, heated rear seats and a 40/20/40 split-fold rear bench, among other features.


“Designed to be the safest vehicle in its class”, the Model Y is also available with Tesla’s AutoPilot suite of advanced driver-assist systems that will soon be able to fully drive it autonomously where legal.


Autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring are standard in the Model Y, while surround-view cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors are available.


Tesla co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk said he expects the Model Y to eventually outsell the Model 3 and Model X “combined”, with production to be initially exclusive to Reno, Nevada, before expanding to Shanghai, China.


When the Model Y goes on sale in Australia, it will go toe to toe with the soon-to-be-launched Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron, while Jaguar’s I-Pace has been on sale since December last year.

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