Video: Tesla Model Y Post-Event In-Depth Discussion & Analysis

MAR 17 2019 BY TOM MOLOUGHNEY 37

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.

Overview

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.

Tesla Model Y
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37 Comments on "Video: Tesla Model Y Post-Event In-Depth Discussion & Analysis"

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A couple of ways Tesla could really differentiate the Y and the 3.

First give it a towbar. This really should have been done already and if they want strong European sales, they will have to.

Second, increase ride hight or give adjustable air suspension.

Both of these things will emphasize the different purposes of the two cars.

Like the Model Y as the family version of the Model 3. Model 3 has got to be the best commute vehicle available at the moment.

As to cannibalizing Model 3, I agree that it will. I think the primary reason for the early release is to hold some customers who would have otherwise purchased an ICE SUV or CUV. With EVs being 3% of the US market, and trucks/SUVs being the lion share, getting 1% of potential ICE buyers to wait would be well worth the cannibalization of some Model 3s. IMO

People love SUVs bc they provide a high seating position, and a convenient hatch back.
This model does not have those 2 features.

It has both. It essentially appears to be a raised and enlarged Model 3 with higher seating, more ground clearance, and a hatchback.

Not all hatchbacks are created equal. The Model Y has a liftback, which is usually put on a sedan to maintain a sedan-trunk appearance at the expense of added vertical space and utility in back end of the vehicle. Traditional CUVs/SUVs have a more upright hatch that adds storage space and utility at the expense of worse aerodynamics.

True.

It definitely has a hatchback, but it needs to be seen how much space is there without the third row. I agree that the ride height increase is uncertain, and seems to be undesirable based on what is available to see at this point. They appear to have kept the same ground clearance, which is what you would expect to change if you want to go from a sedan to a CUV, otherwise it’s just a hatchback.

Most smaller crossovers today are just raised hatchbacks. Think Subaru Impreza / Crosstrek. The third row will be an issue for some people that are looking for an adult-sized third row, but if that’s the case, they shouldn’t be shopping for an SUV of this size, but rather a large SUV or a minivan. SUVs/Crossovers of this size (when adding the third row) are for families that have small children that could sit in back. All compact, and the vast majority of midsize SUVs, have cramped third rows that are only suitable for kids. In the end, until we have more information, it’s really hard to know. Regardless of anything, even if we think of it as simply a more spacious Model 3 with a hatch, chances are it’s going to sell incredibly well. Many people had hoped the original Model 3 would be just that. A more spacious and versatile vehicle with a hatch. We shall see.

Two steps forward, one step back. Model Y may cannibalize Model 3 sales, but also add sales that the Model 3 didn’t capture. So if overall sales is Tesla’s goal, who cares which model it comes from? Especially considering the Model Y is adding additional sales that the Model 3 didn’t. My concern will be how long it takes to deliver the Model Y- because when the folks who were close to purchasing a Model 3 decide to wait, the holding pattern sales won’t help in the interim.

It will also cannibalize Toyota, Honda, BMW, Audi and MB sales.
It may actually bring in more 3 sales, as some people will go for the bargain of the 3, vs. the price of the Y, and the release date of 2020.

Precisely.

That’s a good point- I think folks (like myself) tend to forget that Tesla isn’t just competing against itself.

@987StopCanabilism said: “It will also cannibalize Toyota, Honda, BMW, Audi and MB sales…”
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Agreed.

BMW X-Series will be the most impacted by Model Y… big time.

Tesla Model 3 was the fire alarm for BMW and Tesla Model Y is the quickly approaching fire. Yes that sounds over-the-top but it’s likely not.

BMW is a great brand that I’d like to see successfully transition to all-electric… hopefully BMW is able to survive the fire and re-position itself as a great all-electric car maker.

“It will also cannibalize Toyota, Honda, BMW, Audi and MB sales”.

????? Do you understand what to ‘cannibalize’ means in sales/marketing?

If the automaker sells a more expensive, upgraded vehicle over its base model, this is not cannibalizing sales at all. It’s adding sales and increasing profits. If Tesla didn’t sell one more Model 3 ever again after the Y comes along, and instead sold only Model Y vehicles in its place, then so be it. We all know that will never happen, but if it did, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. It would be like saying it’s a bad thing if an automaker brings to market a new, improved, fully redesigned variant of an existing model and that new model leads to the old one not selling as well. Outgoing 2018 model sales drop cause completely redesigned 2019 model is much better, albeit more expensive. That’s exactly what automakers do! To cannibalize sales, the automaker would have to lose sales of an upper level model, like the Model S, to a cheaper variant, like the Model 3. This actually did seem to happen. The Model 3 cannibalized Model S sales perhaps. But, the definition doesn’t hold true for the Model Y / Model 3 situation. It would be the opposite. To be clear, I’m not disagreeing with you, John.… Read more »

Steven, I didn’t take it that you were disagreeing. I think you do a great job articulating what I was trying to say. I agree with you, sales are sales regardless of the model. And in this case, if someone passes on a Model 3 in favor of the Model Y, then it’s higher margin for Tesla.

Exactly. Again, there are mainstream media articles that say the Model Y is a bad thing since it may take Model 3 sales away. I just can’t wrap my head around that …

I think it’s the same financial media that quietly (and not so at times) wants Tesla to fail. Think about this for a second- in the beginning, Tesla was more of a Wall Street/media darling. That was WAY before all their present innovation, different models, huge Supercharging network, Gigafactories, sales into China and Europe, battery tech, etc. Now here they are and they’re getting pretty hammered amidst all those advancements. To be fair, they’ve made a bunch of mistakes, too. But in terms of overall eye test, they look pretty good. But in terms of public view, ironically they’d likely prefer to have the love they had back when they hadn’t really achieved much.

@Steven Loveday said: “…there are mainstream media articles that say the Model Y is a bad thing since it may take Model 3 sales away. I just can’t wrap my head around that …“
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Traditional media has been pre-conditioned to take the glass half-empty approach on anything that is Tesla… it does not matter the topic… the news message is always contexted why it’s a bad thing for Tesla’s prospects of survival.

Why is that?

To the credit of the deep institutional anti-Tesla elements (that are working hard to preserve legacy automotive and legacy energy delivery interests) they have been successful in conditioning traditional media to be negative bias of Tesla. When is the last time Tesla has had a positive traditional media news mention?… perhaps never.

In the end what combats that negative bias best is Tesla owners getting the word out (especially by social media) how great a product Tesla cars are and also alternative news media outlets like INSIDEEVs being balanced about Tesla news.. which INSIDEEVs is.

The fact that Tesla is performing as high as they are one the INSIDEEVs Plug-In sales Scorecard tells me that the influence of existing Tesla owners and alternative media out-guns traditional media.

China

I do also think that the underwhelming reveal for the Model Y is overblown. Who cares about how the car was unveiled? I don’t get why the extra attention to the event itself, especially considering how the past good reveals were never given the same press for being really good?

It fails to look like a CUV or small SUV, their is nothing even remotely rugged in its appearance, which worries me as that’s what people expect. It seems more a Toyota Matrix than a Subaru Crosstrek, and that could hurt its sales in the US.

I disagree. It looks better than a Honda, Toyota or Ford Escape. It’s got spec numbers much better than them all, and it’s got the luxury electric drive experience.

I agree with BoltUp. Tesla should make a third variant in addition to the 3 and Y that looks more like a traditional CUV/SUV. At minimal design cost, Tesla can change only the sheet metal on the back of the Y to give it more of an upright hatch, instead of a lift gate that resembles a sedan-trunk. Anyone who wants the form factor and increased utility of a traditionally/styled CUV/SUV, and is willing to accept the decreased range from worse aerodynamics, will now have an option from Tesla.

In my east coast, densely populated, urban neck of the woods the hottest new subcompact luxury ICE CUV that people are fawning over is the BMW X2. Many BMW 3 Series sedan drivers are switching to the X2 when their current lease is up.
Tesla could change the back of the Model Y for the proposed third variant to look something like this.

http://www.performancedrive.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BMW-X2-M-Sport-X-side-1280×808.jpg

http://www.mensgear.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BMW-X2-SUV-4.jpg

Oops. The link in my comment above doesn’t work. The link below should work.

https://performancedrive.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BMW-X2-M-Sport-X-side-1280×808.jpg

From article: “…It seemed like Elon used 95% of his time talking all about what Tesla has done in the past… I would have really liked if he spent more time talking about the Model Y…”
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Personally I thought the Model Y reveal was excellent.

It could have easily been a raw-raw Model Y reveal but was instead a more profound message about who Tesla is and why they do what they do.

I was especially taken by how intimate Elon was with the audience during the reveal including incorporating audience back-n-forth playful banter… that tells me how much Elon is eager to personally connect with Tesla’s end-users. Perhaps my saying that yes comes off as my sounding corny but as a Tesla car owner it does mean a lot to me.

Because the Model Y completed “S3XY” it was fitting for Elon to spend an extended amount of time talking about the Tesla history getting there… from where Tesla started to what Tesla has accomplished to-date is so vast in both depth and width that it’s truly remarkable.

continued…

I am certain the significance of this Model Y reveal and how Elon chose to deliver it will be more appreciated as time goes by.

He explained whY in the beginning as manY new to Tesla interested folks have shown in in the past 1-2 years and didn’t realize the history.

It was almost like they expected people to be disappointed with the reveal, so focus was shifted to the journey and trials of standing up manufacturing for a new model, to lessen the discussion about how similar it is to the 3. Anybody who wants an e car now has more options, how great or poor the reveal was doesn’t change that.

@T B said: “It was almost like they expected people to be disappointed with the reveal…”
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What Tesla revealed in the Model Y is exactly what was promised… a larger hatchback SUV/cross-over version of the Model 3. I don’t think there was expected disappointment in the Model Y reveal. I think basically there is universal thumbs-up on the revealed Tesla Model Y… if anything much eagerness for Model Y to get into production.

I think that there’s some disappointment, but it’s to be expected. There are a lot of ICE vehicles that fit lots of wants and needs — we don’t have that with EV. Elon touched on that in the reveal, of how much has changed to get to what is available, about how hard it is stand up manufacturing. As vehicles and infrastructure improve, people will find a car that meets their expectations. I’m guilty of looking at the R1T and saying “that’s a truck for people who don’t do work”, so am disappointed, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad vehicle.

the model 3 is now the faster more eficient model y

just like the model S is the faster and more efficient model X

jjj,

You forgot to mention that in Q1 Tesla dramatically reduced the competition paid to its retail sales staff by eliminating bonuses and commissions, which will help Tesla’s bottom line at the expense or worker morale and happiness.

Well Elon definitely didn’t oversell the vehicle at the presentation, not even bothering to show off the rear hatch . And why would he, he has Model 3 on offer right now, he doesn’t need the Osborne effect. So it made sense to talk about Tesla in general, show off the products currently on offer and adding Model Y almost as an afterthought with no specifics about production location but making sure that everybody knows it’s still a long way out.

Is it though….with demand for Model 3 probably lower than Fremont maximum capacity I could see this pick up the slack, becoming the first Tesla that actually beats its launch target date.

I think every Model 3 production line is also a Model Y line, giving them huge flexibility in which they produce according to demand. It also allows them to ramp up as incrementally as they need to, keeping costs far more proportional to sales. They could start with one new line at the Gigafactory, closely following in China as soon as it’s validated, with plenty of room to add more in either location when necessary. They only need to source and certify 20% new parts, and even those are going to be able to be accommodated by existing suppliers, nothing absolutely new and unique was visible in the reveal.

I just hope the cheapest Model Y won’t be as delayed as the $35k Model 3.