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2020 Tesla Model Y Preview

  • Another electric crossover
  • Another Tesla
  • Another tech spectacle
  • Another car for non-car people
  • Another deadline for Tesla to miss
  • Another wait for mainstream buyers
  • Another distraction
  • Another promise of self-driving
The 2020 Tesla Model Y electric crossover is the next big thing from the automaker, until the next thing.

The 2020 Tesla Model Y is the automaker's small, all-electric crossover that's the next big thing from Tesla until, well, the next thing.

With the Model Y, Tesla has a rival for the relative push among all automakers to sell all-electric powertrains in the world's hottest body style.

When the Model Y goes on sale, sometime in 2020 or 2021, it will compete with other electric crossovers such as the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron, and Hyundai Kona EV.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that the Model Y would cost about $40,000 to start when it goes on sale, but it's unclear if that will be a model that's widely available early on. The Model 3 electric sedan, which is related to Model Y, was initially advertised to be Tesla's $35,000 car in 2016 although those versions didn't arrive until 2019, long after more luxurious and expensive versions of the sedan went on sale.

Musk also hinted that the Model Y would have 10 percent less range than related Model 3 variants, effectively giving the Model Y a range between 200 and 300 miles, depending on variant.

On its other electric cars, Tesla has offered a range of battery sizes with related ranges—the Model 3 includes Standard, Standard Plus, Mid Range, and Long Range battery sizes—with a performance version at the top. All-wheel drive and electric powertrains in other Tesla vehicles have propelled those cars to 60 mph from a standstill in less than four seconds.

The Tesla Model X, its lone crossover until the Model Y arrives, was controversial when it arrived. The rear doors opened via top hinges—so-called "falcon doors"—that prohibited roof racks and early owners complained that the doors didn't fit properly. Unlike the Model X, the Model Y is only built to seat up to five adults, and it's unclear if the falcon doors will make a cameo on Tesla's smaller crossover.

Although Tesla hasn't yet detailed safety equipment for the Model Y, it's likely that the crossover will boast the automaker's suite of driver-assistance features, which are called Autopilot. Adaptive cruise control and active lane control can pilot the car for short distances alone, or complement drivers on long hauls or lengthy commutes by reducing attention required on the road. Full Self Driving software has been promised by the company on its other models—and customers have paid for those features—although those promises haven't yet materialized.

It's unclear what the Model Y will offer for features, but it's likely that the central focal point will be a large, vertically oriented touchscreen planted in the middle of the dashboard. Other Tesla options have included performance upgrades, longer range, or bigger wheels.

Unlimited access to Superchargers, which was an early perk for Model S and Model X buyers, isn't likely to be offered on Model Y crossovers. The company discontinued free access to those chargers for Model 3 buyers sometime last year.


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