Tesla Finally Takes Wraps off Model Y, its First Crossover SUV

Tesla Model Y on the road (Photo: Tesla Inc.)

After talking about it for three long years, Tesla CEO Elon Musk finally revealed Tesla's first crossover SUV -- the Tesla Model Y -- at a typically theatrical event held yesterday at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles, California.

The live streamed event saw Musk the showman touting the Model Y's safety and performance features. He boasted this electric crossover will have "the functionality of an SUV, but ride like a sports car."

The Model Y is aimed at the growing part of American motorists favoring SUVs over sedans. The Model Y's "big brother," the Model X SUV, was unveiled in late 2015 after a two-year delay. Tesla first showed a concept for the seven-seat, gull-wing Model X in 2012.

The advent of the Model Y will complete the Tesla alphabet S-3-X-Y (or sexy). The Model Y will actually be the fifth Tesla electric vehicle. The other vehicle that's not S3XY is the Tesla Roadster.

The Model Y will begin production in 2020 with a base model to be released in 2021. Production will be ramped-up in late 2020. The Model Y will share 75 percent of its components with the Model 3.

The long-range version of this EV will be priced at $47,000. The Dual Motor AWD will retail at $51,000 while the Performance version will go for $60,000.

The Standard version will cost $39,000 and will be introduced in the northern hemisphere in spring 2021. Model Y has a 7-seater option and 1.9 cubic meters of cargo space.

We know a lot about the Model Y thanks to Musk, who first described this SUV in October 2015.

Based on the Model 3 platform, the Model Y is a cheaper, scaled-down version of the Tesla Model X SUV. Musk said the new baby SUV will be 10 percent larger than the Model 3 four-door sedan

Musk also said the Model Y will be powered by the same battery as the Model 3. The heavier Model Y, however, will have less range because of its increased weight and size.

Tesla is teasing the Model Y with an image of its blacked out silhouette to promote Thursday's reveal.

Analysts said that with the Model Y, Tesla will be able to compete in the profitable compact SUV segment, which grew by 12.6 percent to 3.5 million SUVs sold in 2018. Compact SUVs are the largest car segment and are 50 percent larger than the next-largest segment.

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