In Depth

Tesla Model Y 2020: Nevada production confirmed, plus specs and release date

Elon Musk says the entry-level SUV will share up to ‘76%’ of Model 3 parts

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has hinted that production of the upcoming Model Y is set to kick off within months. 

The South African-born billionaire announced during a call with shareholders that the required tooling had been ordered for the manufacturing of the new model, rumoured to be an entry-level SUV, reports Auto Express. He also confirmed that the car will be produced at Tesla’s factory in Clark County, Nevada.

The company currently manufactures batteries and electric motors at the factory, before sending them off to its assembly facility in Fremont, California. 

Musk reportedly hopes that building the Model Y under the same roof as Tesla’s battery and motor production should streamline the assembly process. 

The entrepreneur also revealed that the Model Y will share up to 76% of its components with the Model 3 saloon, currently the electric carmaker’s cheapest model. 

Although he failed to provide further specs or design of the new car, EV news site DrivingElectric expects the new car to have the same powertrains as the Model 3, “which offers buyers a choice of a 220-mile range on the basic car and 310 miles on the range-topping version”. 

Tusk suggested that Tesla may start building the Model Y in low volumes in the coming months, before ramping up manufacturing later in 2019 and into early 2020, Fox News reports.

That would put the Model Y on course to launch at the end of 2020, though the company may unveil the car in pre-production form at an earlier date. 

In the meantime, here’s what else you need to know about the electric SUV:

When does it come out?

Musk hinted on Twitter last year that the company may launch the Model Y in March. 

Asked by a fan when the car would be released, the South African-born billionaire simply replied: “March 15”. 

Musk later wrote that he “just made that up, because the Ides of March sounded good”. 

But he added: “We could unveil Model Y anytime from late this year [2018] to mid next year, so March 15 is about right.”

How much will it cost?

The Model Y will be one of the company’s cheaper vehicles, according to Business Insider. The compact SUV is likely to carry a similar $35,000 (£26,000) price tag to the Model 3 saloon.

Unfortunately, official figures are unlikely to be announced until closer to the car’s release. 

What will it look like?

Details of the Model Y’s design are scarce as Tesla has only released a shadowy preview image [pictured top] of the vehicle. 

What has been confirmed, however, is that the Model Y will be a compact crossover that sits below the company’s Model X SUV, reports Teslarati

Early rumours suggested the Model Y would be built with the same production architecture as the Model 3, but TechRadar says that Tesla has developed a new platform for the electric SUV. 

Along with new architecture, the Model Y will have a “more striking design” than the other cars in Tesla’s range, according to Autocar. The preview image indicates the SUV will have no door mirrors. These are a legal requirement on road cars.

The magazine says Tesla may replace the door mirrors with cameras and “internally mounted displays” to give drivers a rear-facing view.

Should we expect a repeat of the production problems of the Model 3?

It’s no secret that Tesla has experienced a series of issues with the manufacturing of its Model 3 saloon.  

The company halted production of the budget EV to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks” last February. Another temporary factory shutdown followed two months later. 

However, Tesla appears to have moved past its production woes - or as Musk described it, “hell”.

According to Bloomberg, the company has now manufactured more than 500,000 cars and is expected to hit a million over the next 15 months. That would make Tesla “the first major American carmaker to emerge in nearly a century”.

A new facility in Shanghai, due to open next year, should help the firm reach that target by streamlining the manufacturing process.


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