Tesla Model Y Expectations

Tesla is still working hard on it’s first mass market car, namely the Tesla Model 3. For a long time though, we have known that Tesla has also planned a Tesla Model Y. This will be a compact SUV, in other words, a smaller Model X.

The Model Y will be to the Model X, what the Model 3 is to the Model S. With the teaser that Tesla gave us in 2017, we know it will be a mix of the Model 3 and the Model X. But based on what Elon has said lately, it will me more Model 3 and less Model X – still, what can we expect from this car?

In terms of the exterior, the best guess we have so far is this mock-up by Brandan Havard:

Filling in the blanks, is this what the Model Y will look like?

When will the Model Y be released?

Elon Musk recently tweeted that Tesla could unveil Model Y anytime from late this year to mid next year, and currently figures March 15 is about right. Production looks to in 2020.

Update: March 14th date confirmed

There has been speculation about production starting in 2019, but this has been denied by Elon Musk himself. 2020 is the year production will begin, is what he said during the 2018 Q1 conference call. Just like with the Model 3, the initial phase will likely be limited to fully loaded orders.

Tesla Model 3 announcement
Elon Musk at the Tesla Model 3 reveal event

Will the Model Y have falcon wing doors?

Confirmed: No, Elon says it will have normal doors

The reason why they are skipping this is obvious, it’s all about keeping the Model Y as similar to the Model 3 as possible. The falcon wing doors would have required many changes, this keeps things much simpler. Reusing parts, and about avoiding production complexities is what is important here to get the car to market fast and have a decent ramp up in production.

Based on what Elon had said earlier, the answer looked to be yes. It would make sense on some level. Since Tesla has already put in the ridiculous amount of work that these doors took, they might as well use them for what they are worth. As mentioned in my Model S vs. Model X post, I am happy they did!

Even though many have been sceptical to the unique doors, it has also been heavily praised. Especially by families with small children. Placing children in child seats is really easy going with these doors. Personally, I absolutely love it!

Tesla Model X
Falcon wing doors make the Model X easy to spot

Will the Model Y have the Model X windshield?

Confirmed: No, but it will have a panorama glass roof like the one you find on a new Model S.

The Tesla Model X has a huge windshield, and it is something to behold! This is easily one of my favorite features of the Tesla Model X and actually one of the points that can get me to switch my Model 3 reservation over to the Model Y.

The glass roof found in the Tesla Model 3 actually bears resemblance to this window, but it is placed in the back of the vehicle instead. Doing this resulted in loads of headroom back passengers in the back seat. Falcon wing doors won’t be compatible with a solution like this.

The massive windscreen makes the car feel extremely spacious 

Will it be a hatchback?

Confirmed: Yes it will!

This is actually my biggest gripe with the Model 3. All my cars so far have been hatchbacks, including the Model S and Model X. The reason Tesla went with the more traditional trunk in the Model 3 was mainly a result of the uninterrupted glass roof. There is no doubt that the Model 3 trunk has a decent size to it, but access to the trunk is just a lot more limited. Since the Model Y most likely won’t have this, I’d wager it will be a hatchback like it’s larger sibling.

The hatchback makes for great access to the trunk

As such I also expect the Model Y will have a power liftgate, which the Model 3 is currently lacking. Due to it’s design, I’m not sure we will ever se it in the Model 3.

Towing capabilities

Not confirmed

This is a big question, especially for the Norwegian market. I would expect the Model Y to have towing capabilities, but it can totally go either way at this point. Towing capabilities were also promised for the Model 3, and that never happend, but it would make sense for the Model Y to have it – and with some luck, the Model 3 will also get it once the Model Y goes into production. Would you use your Model Y for towing?

Lessons learned

When the Model X was made, Elon Musk and Tesla as a whole learned some important things the hard way. Trying to reinvent the wheel and offering to many options created a production hell that made the production ramp of Model X particularly slow – not to mention the massive delay before they actually got it to market.

Early on Elon talked about a whole new platform for the Model Y and ditching the 12V battery system – it would be able to dramatically reduce the amount of wiring used. However, as many started to fear a repeat of the Model X over-complication, Elon Musk went back on his statement. They weren’t going to make the same mistake again. Instead, it will be heavily based on the Model 3.

With the Model 3 we have also seen that they have dramatically reduced the amount of options as production is ramped up. The Model S and X options have also gotten their options bundled. We will likely see the same for the Model Y.

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I'm a webdeveloper based in Oslo, Norway. I currently work with web development at Nettmaker.

I would like to change the world, but they won't give me the source…

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