Tesla finally took the wraps off the Model Y this evening. After weeks of waiting and the fever-pitch speculation, the wait is over! Behold, The Tesla Model Y!
Model Y Specs
Here are the quick and dirty pertinent specifications:
Model Y Range
Range is almost always the first question out of anyone’s mouth when they want to know about an electric vehicle. The long and short of it is that it is rated at 230 to 300 “real world miles”, according to Elon Musk. (370 – 482 km)
Where Does it Fit in the Lineup?
At this moment, the Model 3 currently represents the best value EV on the market. Where then does the Model Y fit into the equation?
The Model Y is to the Model 3 as the X is to the S. (Try saying that 5 times fast!)
It’s slightly larger, slightly less efficient, and slightly more expensive than the Model 3. America loves its SUVs, though. We love the clearance, the roomy interior, and the vantage point from inside. The price points put it a step above the Model 3 and predictably below the Model S and X.
This really is the sweet spot for both Tesla and consumers; the average price of a Mid-size Crossover SUV in 2019 is $38,926 according to Kelley Blue Book. This means the Model Y coming in between $39,000 – $74,500 depending on drive train, paint, wheels, and trim, sits squarely in the mid-to upper tier of the standard price range for its class.
The Model Y features standard seating for 5 and optional seating for 7, though this will cost you an additional $3,000 and push the delivery date out from late 2020 to 2021.
All Wheel Drive is an expensive option to upgrade to, sadly. The base model is RWD, which makes it best suited for warm climates without much snow. With some good winter tires, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to drive a RWD in winter slush and snow, but FWD and obviously AWD are far more desirable.
The cheapest, stripped down AWD model is $51,000 with all the standard options, which is disappointing for those of us that are interested in the SUV for its utility; accessing trailheads and so forth.
The Model Y’s advantage is that regular SUVs are gas guzzlers, with the average SUV getting 26.4mpg (8.9 L/100 km) and the average American commute of 32 miles (51.5 km). Some 3.3 million Americans drive 100+ miles round-trip per day for their commute, but for sake of argument, let’s stick to the averages.
At the date of writing this, the average price of gas in the USA is $2.52 per gallon (approx. $0.66 per liter) – which is ridiculously cheap on a global scale. So the average commuter driving an SUV is consuming 1.21 gallons of gas per day at a cost of:
- $3.05 / day
- $15.25 / week
- $61 / month
- $732 / year
This all assumes no stop and go traffic (you wish, right?), if that’s factored in those numbers absolutely skyrocket, due to idling and constant acceleration and deceleration.
Let’s look at the Model Y’s consumption for comparison. To do so we’ll need to convert it into units that can be calculated more easily. While we don’t know exactly what the Model Y efficiency is rated at, somewhere between 110-115MPGe seems resonable. For sake of argument, let’s assume 112 MPGe, this means that if it ran on gasoline it would cost $0.72 per day to make the same commute.
The Model Y does not run on gas, of course, so let’s quickly crunch the numbers on how much it costs to charge it up. The average cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity in the United States is $0.1319 – so let’s convert MPGe to kWh per mile.
A gallon of gasoline contains 33.7kWh of energy, so that means the Model Y can go 112 miles on 33.7kWh of energy – that means it uses roughly 300wH per mile. Over the 32 mile average commute it will consume approximately 9.6kWh of electricity. Multiply that times the average rate per kWh and you arrive at just about:
- $1.27 / day
- $6.33 / week
- $25.32 / Month
- $303.89 / Year
So the average American spending less than half the amount on commuting, not to mention the silent, smooth ride, lower maintenance costs, and so on.
In fact, in some markets, the savings become even larger because the price disparity between gasoline and electricity is even higher. Not to mention that if you can charge your vehicle at off-peak hours, when electricity is even cheaper, you could even save much more.
The Model Y is a game changer for electrification in North America, because for not much more than the cost of an average SUV you can move up to a fully electric SUV backed by the largest network of fast chargers in the world.
It’s a very compelling vehicle, when weighed against its peers in the mid-size SUV class. Musk said that Tesla expect to sell as many Model Y’s as S, 3, and X combined; for good reason.