Let's take a look back upon the Model Y reveal
Now that the long-awaited Tesla Model Y has been revealed, we can continue to debate, discuss and deliberate it ad nauseam until it finally arrives, because hey, that's what we do here, especially when it comes to Tesla.
I was one of the lucky ones to score an invite to the Model Y event on Thursday, and afterwards, I sat down with Alex from E For Electric for our weekly "Plugged In" discussion on the world of electric vehicles. Since Alex was also at the event, we were able to do it in person, as opposed to over Skype as we usually do. If I look a little lethargic, it's because we did it after the event, and it was like 3:00 am for me on East Coast time.
Maybe I'm just getting used to Tesla's reveal events, but this one didn't seem to have the same pizzazz as the previous unveiling events have. It seemed like Elon used 95% of his time talking all about what Tesla has done in the past, and then at the end just added: "Oh yeah, and here's the Model Y, thanks for coming - good night all". We wanted more!
I would have really liked if he spent more time talking about the Model Y, and showing us more of it. How about talking a little about producing a vehicle at Gigafactory 1 for the first time? How's tooling up for production going there? How about opening the hatch and letting us see what the rear cargo space looks like, with and without the 3rd-row seats up.
Third row seats
Speaking of which, how about letting us see the 3rd-row seats? I did get to take a ride (about 2-3 minutes) in the same blue Model Y that came out on the stage but the 3rd-row seating was folded down so we couldn't see it.
It didn't look like there was nearly enough room for a 3rd row, and I still don't know how it will have enough headroom because the rear hatch window slopes down pretty aggressively. I know it has the 3rd row, but I'll be very surprised if it ends up being large enough for adults to sit comfortably.
There was also a white Model 3 on display but it wasn't a functioning car. At one point, I saw an event employee push it forward about two feet. He simply pushed it with one hand and it just rolled forward. The windows were completely blacked out; I'm sure it was just a shell without any interior or drive unit.
With a base price of $39,000, Tesla will have a very hard time keeping up with Model Y demand once it's available.
Model Y is basically a Model 3
As others have noted, The Model Y is more of another version of the Model 3, than worthy of its own model name. Everything about it looked and felt like a Model 3, and that's not a bad thing, because the 3 is a great car. Tesla has said that a majority of the parts used in the Model Y come directly from the Model 3. That should really help Tesla get it into production much faster than their previous vehicles. Comparing the Model 3 to the Model Y is a lot like comparing the BMW 3-Series sedan to the 3-Series GT. It's the same model, just a different version.
Elon said that they would begin manufacturing in late 2020, and I think it's really important that they manage to hold that aggressive timeline. As I say in the video, I believe that the Model Y will greatly outsell the Model 3 once it's available. Crossovers are all the rage, and the Model Y will fit right into a category that's very popular with today's consumer. Just look at GM & Ford's recent decisions to stop producing sedans in favor of crossovers, SUVs and trucks. It's just where the market is.
Cannibalize Model 3?
Yes, the Model Y is going to cannibalize Model 3 sales, because it's basically a more versatile Model 3. It looks to be another great addition to the Tesla product line, and with a starting price of only $39,000, the Model Y will appeal to a much wider audience than Tesla's larger crossover/SUV, the Model X. However, Tesla needs to get the Y to market as soon as possible. Even with the Model 3 in relatively high production, Tesla still hasn't been able to sustain profitability. The future of the company may very well depend on getting the Model Y in customer's hands as soon as they can.