New Tesla Model Y SUV revealed
BILLIONAIRE entrepreneur Elon Musk has unveiled his latest creation, the Model Y electric SUV.
Dressed in black t-shirt, sports coat and jeans, Musk told a select audience the new model would likely outsell all three existing Tesla models combined.
The seven-seat compact SUV will be priced from US$39,000 ($55,000) and is claimed to reach 100km/h in a supercar-rivalling 3.5 secs.
Musk detailed four models: the Standard Range, Long Range, Dual Motor and Performance. The latter three models will go on sale in the US in third quarter of next year and the cheaper Standard Range will follow in the second quarter of 2021.
There will be a panoramic sunroof and a range of up to 482km.
"It has the functionality of an SUV but will ride like a sports car. Will be really tight in corners," says Musk.
Musk said that the Model Y will be the safest SUV in its class.
"We design with safety as the number one goal. People think performance but safety first is the most important thing."
Musk took a dig at his detractors during the unveiling.
"There was a time when electric cars seemed very stupid. Making a car company seemed stupid. Making an electric car company was stupidity squared," he said.
He also said it was rewarding to see the world's leading car companies begin to produce rivals.
"It's extremely rewarding to see that the rest of the industry is going electric," he said.
But he admitted that the first year of Model 3 production, which was beset with delays, was a hard slog.
"In 2018 I aged five years in one. It was really intense," he said.
The Model Y is expected to be built on the same platform as the Model 3 and share many of its components, but is expected to have slightly less range due to increase in weight from the SUV body.
There are likely to be a number of variations available, including all-wheel drive dual-motor versions and single-motor rear-wheel drive layouts. The Y is likely to have different battery options, giving a wide variety of ranges and prices.
The popularity of SUVs means the more affordable Y should be brand's most popular model.
However, don't expect the Y on the road any time soon, as production is not tipped to start until next year. It could take several years for the vehicle to arrive in Australia, especially if it follows the precedent set by the 3.
Potential Australian buyers of the 3 are still waiting for their vehicles after placing a $1500 deposit on them in March 2016. Tesla has been unable to give an exact time frame on delivery dates for the 3 locally simply saying the first orders are expected to be filled in the middle of this year.
Coincidentally, yesterday Australian customers were the first in the world to get a ride in the new Mercedes EQC electric SUV which is due towards the end of this year or early 2020.
It is one of a wave of new electric vehicles by traditional car makers lining up to take a shot at the electric front runner.
Audi is expected to launch its first electric e-tron SUV later this year but it has been plagued with production issues.
Volkswagen announced earlier this week that it plans to roll out 70 electric vehicles across its network of brands by 2028 and to potentially go into the business of building batteries and components.
And Jaguar has beaten all the larger car makers to market with its I-Pace SUV launching late last year.
Hyundai now has the Ioniq electric car on sale in Australia and the electric Hyundai Kona is due to launch imminently. Kia has also said that it plans to launch its small electric SUV but supply constraints have delayed the local launch.