Here’s When We Think The Cheapest Tesla Model Y Will Arrive


Your mileage may vary.

Prices matter. When the Tesla Model 3 was first revealed, the $35,000 base price was a big part of the excitement. It helped drive a mind-bending 500,000-plus pre-orders for the mid-size sedan just days after the initial launch. Of course, the base price Model 3 didn’t arrive until over a year-and-a-half later. This brings us to the new Model Y.

As you may have heard, that vehicle will be revealed tonight. As we watch the livestream, the question of when the most affordable version will become available is likely to arise. Opinions here at the palatial InsideEVs headquarters are mixed, but this writer thinks it will hit stores the website sooner rather than later. How soon, then?

As we said, it took the Standard Range version of the Model 3 about 18 months, give or take, to make it from initial high-spec variant deliveries to actual production of the base model. And in that case, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made some (now partially reversed) bold moves to make that happen. The timeframe for the Model Y should be much shorter.

When deliveries officially begin, the Long Range versions will again be the first available to order. That’s the version that will feed the most money back into the automaker’s coffers, so it’s the business decision that makes the most economic sense. There are many factors that will determine the number of months until a Standard Range Model Y can be delivered: speed of the production ramp up and the creation of the necessary space to build them all, for instance.

If the company has truly learned from its Model 3 “production hell” ramp up, then a lot of time can be saved there. Since the Model Y will be built on the Model 3 platform and share as much as 75 percent of their parts, the production scale of those elements is already high, making the needed drop in prices to be able to sell the base version at a profit somewhat closer.

In the end, this writer thinks the distance from Long Range production to Standard Range availability should be less than a year. It would be nice to see it happen within eight months, but it’s more likely to take closer to twelve. As we said, others in the office feel differently. You may too, so give us your best estimate in Comments.

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54 Comments on "Here’s When We Think The Cheapest Tesla Model Y Will Arrive"

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12 months from LR to SR seems reasonable for the Model Y, if the production hell is much less than it was for the Model 3.

I think it will be between 6-12 months.

I’ll split the difference and say 8-9 months. 😛

Can I put my vote in for the expected value of 12 (MikeG), Paul Stoller (6 and 12 months), and Joel B (8 – 9 months). Oh forget it, don’t feel like doing multiplication on probabilities this early in the morning. 🙂

Early in the morning? Do you live down under?

My guess is the smallest Y will be the plus-range pack, although it may have the standard seats. I don’t think tesla wants the Y to go much below 200 mile epa range. Lets say 9 months from long range to a plus. Figure 10% premium or 1.1*37K*1.03(price increase) + $1200 destination = around $43K +tt&l. I think that may sell well despite no federal tax credits if it is as good of a vehicle as it promises.


Interesting that you’re downvoted so. Musk has stated that the ramp will finish in late 2020. Translate from Musk time to the real world time and you’re looking at sometime in the middle of 2021. It took quite a while to go from hitting 5K/week to actually offering the standard Range Model 3 (not a single delivery of one of those yet, is there?) so it doesn’t at all seem unreasonable to guess it’ll come in mid-late 2021.

You were right, so the downvotes will never make sense.

Still waiting for the RHD Model 3, if it is much longer we may as well wait for the RHD Model Y.

Think of EVs as being two things, the sled and the coachwork. The sled, batteries, drivetrain and electronics are pretty well mature from the Model 3. The coachwork is pretty straightforward, put a new roofline from the Model 3 b-pillar back that incorporates a fifth door. Done. Production deliveries of a long-range AWD configuration in six months, stripper model in twelve. The line forms over there.

OBTW, since the battery system is another year down the improvement curve, price increases are less than expected and range is improved. Profitability ensues anyway. Please wrap the line around the block to avoid impeding ICE cars on the journey to extinction.

(Original James) A lot more engineering is needed than what you are portraying. Slapping on a rear hatch roofline sounds more like a station wagon or what is known as a “shooting brake” in Europe.

The SUV will be longer than the 3 according to Musk. It also needs to be taller. Ease in loading kids, kid carriers and strollers is key. Little shared, but as we age its harder to get in and out of a low sedan. SUVs are taller have taller sides and suspension = more metal and weight = higher cost. Also, more batteries to achieve 300 miles range.

300 mile range would exceed Model X. Could happen, I guess.

I actually expect longer range S/X to be the “one more thing”. Hope so.

You’re missing the 90% of the iceberg.
1) In modern midrange cars, the drivetrain (motor, battery, controller and attached systems) is 20% (for ICE) to 25% (for BEV) of the cost. The rest of the vehicle (body, suspension, steering, braking, lighting, safety systems, infotainment, interior, comfort & electrics) far outweighs the drivetrain in cost & complexity.
2) Making a car i mostly a very large systems-engineering integration project in the design phase, followed by a very large engineering-testing & homologation phase, followed by a large production-engineering project and then supply chain management.

I don’t think Elon ever promised you a cheaper/shorter range Model Y…… 🙂

If they sell like hotcakes, there may be no incentive to do that.

Elon claims 1.5-2x Model 3 sales for the Model Y, that wont happen at significantly higher prices and the Model 3. A cheaper model might not be on offer during their ramp, but at steady state production I don’t think they can maintain demand at too high prices.

Hard to tell. I could see this being a home run (much more than the 3) or something just like the 3 in sales. I think it will depend on the packaging and if there’s anything special over and above the smaller SUV thing. I think the 3 will still have a market especially as it will be roughly US$5000 cheaper on the lowest cost versions. Decisions if my kid gets his drivers licence. I wonder if I can get a 6th mortgage on my shack? /s

This is a hot segment in the market. To push into higher production levels it behooves Tesla to provide a choice at the lower pricing level.

I’m more interested in the first production date of any TMY. Fremont is full, so they need a new factory, paintshop, general assembly – the lot. I bet that in Nevada they do not build at ‘plaid’ Shanghai speed. But at least they won’t need to build it in a swamp like in Shanghai. Still, if they build from scratch, first production would be mid 2020 I guess, which is a long time to wait.

“I’m more interested in the first production date of any TMY.”

And how! Too bad I can only give a +1 thumbs-up for that comment.

“…if they build from scratch, first production would be mid 2020 I guess, which is a long time to wait.”

I can’t see how they could possibly get the Model Y into production sooner than that. Where else can Tesla build the TMY except at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada? Tesla doesn’t currently have any other place to put an auto assembly plant. And despite all the optimistic talk about building (Shanghai) Gigafactory 3 overnight or in just a weekend, Tesla has officially stated that major portions of the assembly line there won’t even be installed until March 2020. So forget about any Model Y production at Gf3 this year.

There is an empty GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio with an extremely motivated workforce. Will offer mid-country distribution as a benefit and probably the potential for massive tax incentives.

As crazy as the above sounds…reports indicate that GM is speaking to other “interested parties”:
Gov. Mike DeWine said he’s been given no indication from General Motors that the automaker plans to use the idled Lordstown plant, but “it’s pretty clear they’re having discussions” with a company or companies about taking over the facility.

“My focus is to do everything to get jobs back in that plant, understanding that our hands are really tied until there is some movement from General Motors,” he told The Vindicator editorial board Tuesday. “They still own the plant. If General Motors would tell us today X company is interested, here’s what they want to do, we can contact X company and start working with them on what we can put together” as far as an incentive package.

GM is not sharing that information with state officials, however, which makes it difficult to assist a company that may use the Lordstown facility, DeWine said.

But the governor added GM “might let us know in four to six weeks.”

Tesla is anti-union. So can’t see them taking over Lordstown.

The problem is not that Tesla is anti-union, but that the union does not have the same vision as Tesla. Tesla is still a startup that has to establish itself against many unwelcoming entities; existing auto manufacturers, oil and gas interests and political stymieing.

GM is closing Lordstown because it’s an antiquated assembly line that is only setup to build compact sedans. It would literally be cheaper and faster to start from scratch (again it’s why GM is closing it).

Move the Model 3 lines to Lordstown? (I really don’t think Tesla is interested, but if they were).

Others have pointed out the Union angle, I’ll point out that GM would also need a sell at a huge discount which wouldn’t happen…Finally, despite a so called “extremely motivated workforce”, Musk would need to personally approve each person Tesla hire…

I’m also fairly certain that if Tesla builds vehicles in GF1, they’ll be receiving far more incentives from Spark NV than from Lordstown, Ohio…

What about the Faraday factory that is apparently being unloaded? It’s not too far from Gig1/Fremont so logistics might work. And it might be more future oriented than Lordstown, OH. Not sure if it would be more advanced than Oshawa, ON, Canada as that plant is apparently flex already.

There’s no factory, simply just graded land…

So having a factory in Midwest near suppliers is bad?

” Fremont is full,”

Fremont may have room by yearend if Shanghai comes online. Tesla could build low volumes of Model Y using GA4 in the tent early next year. This also gives them the option to can the GF1 production line in favor of a European factory to avoid the 10% tariff. US/Canada market doesn’t seem able to support 7k Model 3s/week, but 7k 3+Y would work.

I think the question of when the _first_ models will actually be delivered is the larger and more important (and for real, not a handmade subpar handful like that of the Model 3s delivered in July 2017… First actual mass-produced deliveries were in 2018).

But what’s the time from announcement to LR and LR to SR. Probably 2+ years

500,000 Model 3 pre-orders with a $1,000 deposit.

To order a current Tesla vehicle, the deposit is now $2500. Assuming this value applies to the new vehicle, do you think this increased deposit amount will have an effect on Model Y pre-orders?

Deposits have always been $2,500. Reservations for the Model 3 were $1,000 but the ability to reserve one went away after it entered production.

It is crazy how many people get that wrong. Good comment.

Tesla would be smart to go back to the early days and give something to early adopters/reservers. Would up the take rate on deposits whatever the deposit $.

I expect Model Y reservation program to be much different than Model 3. A re-run would bring lower participation and ruin the buzz for the product.

I think it will affect it, but more than that, the knowledge that if you want the base model and your place in line not really mattering since you cannot get the base model in a reasonable amount of time from launch and Tesla opening the ordering up to everyone because the profit margin was not there, will result in far fewer deposits. I have not checked the local store, but I imagine there was not much of a line there this morning and don’t recall Tesla even saying anything about taking deposits before the presentation tonight, so it seems they are also not expecting a huge response.

My prediction on first Model Y delivery: between next week and three years from now.

It’s a fair guess.

What will be interesting is whether Tesla announces base pricing for the Y tonight.

Or follows a current trend to announce spec and pricing for the top trim or launch editions, but only estimated specs for the base model.

It’s POSSIBLE that it debuts AWD only and a year or so later they reveal a cheaper RWD variant…

Tesla please don’t make people wait 3 years from today and still not have the chance to order a car which they put money down on day 1. I’m talking about RHD Model 3’s. Don’t make the same mistake with the Y. It won’t make you any friends.

The good news this time around is they probably learned from last time…The cells and pack assembly bottle neck seemed solved and they learned a great deal from the 3’s body…Musk rarely listens to anyone but listened to Sandy Munro and free suggestions to improve the Model 3…A lot of that lessons learned can be applied to the Model Y…

I think Tesla is going to build the Model Y on the same line as the Model 3. This is going to make sense as the Model Y is going to cannibalize the Model 3 when it launches. And Tesla isn’t likely going to keep it’s factory busy in China and Fremont with Model 3 alone. It’s the only way the Model Y is getting into production quickly. Either that Tesla is going to import from China or they have been working on a new assembly line in Nevada for over 6 months already.

To build a new factory from scratch and get a new car into production is 1.5 years absolute minimum.

My WAG is that Tesla went to the local and state Govts in Sparks NV and said “We had planned to build the Model Y in Fremont, but if we build it at GF1, what kind of incentives will you give us?”…

Wake me up when they make a minivan or a mid-sized, true hatchback.


As per their masterplan, they have launched Models S, X, 3(E) and displayed Y and in addition, a pickup and a semi. 4 vehicles are for the rich and the other 2 are for business. So where is car for a common man.

A small car/cuv the size of Bolt and just enough for 4 passengers with a range of 200 miles / 320 km – 300 miles / 480 km at a price tag of $25,000. Its ok if the base trim is just in 1 black color with a small 10 ” / 250 mm monitor. This is what is going to give them a big break, a real threat to other automakers and relief to planet earth.

Chinese have many such small cars and may start selling them the world over soon. Tesla better has an equivalent vehicle.

With all the hate from CNBC and Bloomberg I want Tesla to demolish these shorters

The base model will come online when the full tax credit is no longer available, thus incentivizing the more expensive models.

I love Model Y because people will sell their Model 3’s for Model Y and used Model 3 price will be soft when that happens.