Tesla launches its first compact SUV, the Model Y

Tesla launches its first compact SUV, the Model Y

Tesla's mid-size electric SUV, the Model Y, was presented Thursday night in Hawthorne, California. Launched at an event at the company's Los Angles design studio, it's Tesla's take on the compact SUV craze. Top speed is 209 km/h, and Musk also assures that it "ride [s] like a sports auto... really tight in corners". The vehicle will be priced at $47,000 in the first instance and will capable of delivering 300 miles on a single battery charge. And with Tesla being Tesla, an all-wheel drive dual-motor version will be available for $51,000 while a performance version will be available for $60,000.

Tesla announced it would shut down a substantial number of its stores, but later changed its mind and said it would raise the prices of its cars - but not the Model 3 - instead.

After the stream concluded Tesla tweeted a link to where customers can customise their future Model Y. Compact SUVs are the largest vehicle segment and is 50 percent larger than the next-largest segment.

"This could be Tesla's most profitable vehicle, with the giant asterisk that the company doesn't do some of the dumb things it has in the past", said Gartner analyst Mike Ramsey.

Musk said more detailed specs and pricing will be available at the Thursday reveal event. Without knowing for sure whether the constraint at Fremont is simply space (which has doubtless been squeezed by the two more or less unusable Model 3 general assembly lines built before the tent-based GA3 line) or paint shop air quality permits, it's impossible to completely rule out Fremont-based North American production and Tesla is staying cagey about manufacturing plans. Some key executives have left the company recently.

After a rambling 30 minute presentation detailing Tesla's history, including bringing out the Model S, 3, and X, Musk finally showed Model Y to the world.

It took almost three years after Tesla's unveiling of the Model 3 before it sold for its promised price point of $35,000. The base model will sell at a price that's well within the reach of average car-buying consumers. "It was really intense". It's worth noting, though, that the entry-level model won't be available until 2021 as Tesla will look to manufacture the more margin-friendly models first, a strategy the company undertook with the Model 3.

We aren't exactly sure why anyone needs to go from a standing start to that type of speed in under 4-seconds but if you do, and you want to embrace electric vehicles, then Model Y should definitely be on your radar for next year. "Twelve months from now, we will have made about a million vehicles". More importantly, it gives us a good glimpse of what Tesla expects to have completed less than a year after its January 6 ground breaking event.

Expectations from the Model Y were, therefore, fairly low in terms of just how SUV-inspired its design might be. Musk now says Tesla has worked out those issues.

Model Y from the rear.

"Until Elon is gone, Tesla is going to be a insane company that occasionally makes breathtaking products", Ramsey predicted.

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