Elon Musk will unveil Tesla’s fourth major car, the Model Y, at an event in Los Angeles this evening. Based on the Model 3, the mid-sized SUV will sit below the Model X, and while details are still scarce, we can make some educated guesses about what the car could look like.
Teaser images suggest a slightly more sophisticated external design than that of the Model X, which is perhaps a little cumbersome, but a more upright stature than the entry-level Model 3. Musk and Tesla have announced (or alluded to) various other body styles, including pickup trucks and lorries, but this kind of SUV is a popular format in many of the company’s key markets.
We don’t think the Model Y will share the Model X’s flawed-but-beautiful “Falcon” doors. The Model Y will most likely be a much more conventional electric SUV. Musk has described it as “10 percent bigger” than the Model 3 saloon, adding that it will somewhat resemble it; the images we’ve seen all point to a taller design, however. Inside, we expect five seats and a reasonable boot space.
Unless the Model 3 mechanicals have been considerably modified for use in the Model Y, we think the new car will have marginally worse performance and range thanks to the added size and weight. If the vehicle is offered with the Model 3’s low-range battery configuration, we expect the entry-level Model Y to have a range of around 200 miles. In long-range form that might be closer to 300 miles.
The fact that Tesla’s model range spells out “S 3 X Y” should come as no surprise to fans of the brand, who know that Elon Musk’s company is more playful than most mainstream car manufacturers. However, several controversies have affected the upstart corporation and its outspoken CEO, and the delayed launch of the Model 3 suggests that it may be a while before buyers (especially European ones) receive their cars.
And with prices expected to start at $40,000 in the US, this will be a relatively expensive car in the UK, especially in more usable long-range form. Cars such as Kia’s e-Niro and Hyundai’s Kona EV already offer very similar versatility at affordable prices, meaning Tesla will have more competitors than ever when the new car goes on sale next year.
To talk all things motoring with the Telegraph Cars team join the Telegraph Motoring Club Facebook group here