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  • Ash Habib

Tesla Model Y, the conduit to going mainstream?

As you may or may not be aware of at this point, the mayor of Twitter, the man who revolutionized how people buy stuff on eBay, the man who's confident he's going to get us to Mars also happens to run a car company and they unveiled a new vehicle. Elon Musk, the man who equally as famous for his prolific tweeting and unfiltered nature as he is his accomplishments, took to the stage to live stream his company's latest offering, the Model Y.


In true Elon fashion, there was music playing, some passionate Tesla devotees in attendance, and even the occasional dick joke. It's all part of Elon's charm, and the reason everyone puts up with his non traditional antics is because he's genuinely attempting to better the world, and he's doing a pretty good job at it considering a lot of what his ventures are doing are essentially firsts for their fields.


So, the latest reveal, the Model Y. Billed as the Tesla's first foray into the compact/mid size crossover market, there's quite a bit riding on this vehicle. This segment is the fastest growing in the industry, and if Tesla is going to cement itself as a real car company, it needs to execute here. I'm actually surprised the Model Y was introduced after the Model 3, as it seems like it would have been better planning to go after this section of the market first.


Model Y Price Structure in USD (Photo from Tesla Livestream)

Crossovers routinely sell for more than the cars they're based on, so it seems like that may have prevented all of the financial chaos Tesla was going through last summer, with Musk himself admitting the company was mere weeks away from going under. Which itself led him to falsely tweeting about taking the company private, leading Tesla shares to jump, and then drop after it was discovered that wasn't the case. Then in turn leading to shareholders suing, an SEC investigation and fine of $20 Million USD, oh and him having to step down from Tesla as Chairman.


Tesla Model X Falcon Doors (Photo from Tesla)

So, all of that in turn leads us to the vehicle itself. Is it any good? Is it revolutionary? And the answers are probably and no. I say probably because while the upcoming Model Y shares 75% of it's components with the Model 3, the first customer deliveries aren't scheduled to happen until the late 2020, about 18 months away. The model 3, while it's had it's issues, has generally been received positively. And that's why I'm glad it doesn't have anything revolutionary in it, akin to the Model X's Falcon Doors, which, while cool, only created a nightmare for Tesla to nail the production on.


VW Sportwagen (left) vs. VW Alltrack (right) (Photos by VW Canada)

The craziest thing about the Y is that it has a third row option for some reason, although I pity anyone that has to sit in that third row, a privilege you pay $4000 CDN for. Power-wise, it mirrors the available Model 3 options, albeit with a bit less range and a bit slower acceleration due to the increased size. I personally would have liked to see Tesla box up the rear a bit to increase cargo capacity and make it look a little less like a lifted Model 3. As it is, the design changes are more akin to the differences between a Golf Sportwagen and a Golf Alltrack than the differences between a Honda Civic and a Honda CRV. Elon self admitted that the Model Y is a result of him being reigned in, since he wanted an all new platform for it.


Tesla Model Y (Photo by Tesla)

But, whether he wants to admit it or not, Tesla is still largely a transportation company. It's not a software company where every version can be all new. Their software certainly differentiates them as a manufacturer, but you can't sit in code. Elon needs to get a handle on the fact that when dealing with vehicles, iteration is sometimes better than revelation.


The fact that his team was able to convince him to base the Model Y on the 3 platform can only mean good things for Tesla's survival and reputation. They can take what they have learned from the 3, and apply that to the Y so that it's launch goes smoother and is more efficient in production. Which leads to increased profits and better quality vehicles leaving the plant. Which leads to a better reputation, which begets more people looking into buying an EV. Which was his goal in the first place.


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©2020 by Ash Habib Automotive Consulting.