Tesla unveiled the Model Y SUV on Thursday in the Los Angeles area, marking the debut of a long-awaited electric vehicle that CEO Elon Musk predicted will be the company’s best seller. The company announced a Model Y range of up to 300 miles for the compact electric SUV based on the Model 3 platform, which is surprisingly going to offer up to 7 seats.
The Model Y may be Tesla’s most important product yet as it attempts to expand into the mainstream and generate enough cash to repay massive debts that threaten to topple the Palo Alto, California, company. Tesla got a considerable boost toward ensuring its survival with the 2017 debut of its Model 3 sedan, but a sports utility vehicle could have even more mass appeal, given how popular SUVs have become in the US, Europe, and Canada.
The Model Y design is remarkably similar to Model 3’s design. It is definitely sitting a little higher than Model 3. The bigger size enables a total of 66 cubic feet (1.9 cubic meters) of storage space, and one of the bigger surprises is that it will indeed have an optional third row for up to 7 seats, which has been rumored.
The all-electric, mid-size SUV will start at $39,000 for the standard range version, which the company said can go 230 miles (370 kilometers) on a single charge. The long-range model, which starts at $47,000, has a range of up to 300 miles (483 kilometers) on a single charge – less range than the Model 3.
Tesla expects to deliver the performance, long range, rear-wheel drive, and dual-motor, all-wheel-drive versions of the Model Y in the fall of 2020. The standard version of the Model Y is expected to roll out in the spring of 2021.