As was reported a few days ago, it appears that the Tesla Model Y could begin limited production sometime in late 2019, with mass production following in 2020. Assuming that those dates are accurate, the Tesla Model Y compact SUV or CUV will be hitting the market right around the same time as numerous other all-electric SUV/CUV models.
While it could perhaps be argued that many of these models are not actually Tesla Model Y competitors — due to different market segments, price points, target demographics, etc. — the fact remains that there will still likely be a fair amount of cross-shopping going on amongst those on the market for an electric SUV/CUV.
With that in mind, I’m going to offer an overview of the competition that’s expected to be on the market by around 2020. The “competition” in this case refers to fully electric SUVs/CUVs.
First, though, I’ll provide a basic overview of what I’m expecting when it comes to the base-level Tesla Model Y — so as to provide a reference point. (Obviously, higher priced options will be available as well with better performance and tech, but I’m focused here on the base-level option.)
Pricing seems very likely to start somewhat higher than on the Tesla Model 3. It would stand to reason that range would be conversely somewhat lower in the Model Y than in the Model 3, but my guess is actually that the base range will officially be exactly the same — at 220 miles per full charge. (As you may recall, the US EPA actually wanted to the give the current long-range Tesla Model 3 a much higher range rating than it ended up providing, owing to suggestions from Tesla. So, there’s clearly some leeway there already, even without considering expected battery improvements.) The performance of the base-level Model Y will, as well, be fairly similar to the Model 3, but I expect all-wheel drive to come standard. In such a case, the base price will likely be compared to a base-price Model 3 with AWD, but a bit more expensive due to the larger size. That likely puts the base price of the Model Y a bit over $40,000.
With all of that considered, on to the competition. …
Tesla Model Y Competition In 2020 —
Hyundai Kona, Nissan IMx, Audi e-Tron Quattro, Volkswagen ID Crozz …
Amongst the most notable fully electric SUVs/CUVs expected to hit the market before or sometime around the year 2020, we have: the Hyundai Kona; the Audi e-Tron Quattro; the Nissan IMx; a production version of the Volkswagen ID Crozz concept; the all-electric version of the Lynk & Co 01 (in Europe); and perhaps the Jaguar I-PACE and the Porsche Mission E Gran Turismo.
The last 3 models mentioned there aren’t necessarily Tesla Model Y competitors, as they all are (or will be) much more expensive than the Model Y (especially the low-trim versions of the Model Y). That mostly just leaves the Hyundai offerings, the Audi e-Tron Quattro, and the Nissan IMx … so let’s start with those.
Hyundai Kona Electric (Long-Range Version)
The all-electric version of the Hyundai Kona is expected to hit the market before too long … with the long-range version of the Kona reportedly slated to be the only version sold in the US anytime soon (so we’ll focus on that iteration here).
The long-range version will reportedly feature a real-world range of around 250 miles per full charge; performance is clocked at 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque; and there’s compatibility with WiTricity’s wireless charging systems. Also noteworthy is that Hyundai’s suite for auto safety features — Hyundai Smart Sense — will be available as an option. Consider that Hyundai’s version of Tesla’s Autopilot.
Probably far more notable, though, is that availability will first begin in the USA only in California, before then slowing being rolled out to other states. Which brings us to one of the possible primary limitations of the Hyundai Kona Electric: a lack of widespread availability in volume due to battery supply constraints. That’s been the story with the Hyundai Ioniq Electric so far, and it’s presumably in far less demand than the Kona EV will be.
While the company will perhaps manage to improve its electric vehicle (EV) battery supply situation considerably by 2020, it’ll likely still be the case that batteries are the limiting factors when it comes to sales, not demand.
This seems especially likely to be true when one considers that Hyundai typically prices it’s offerings very competitively — the Kona Electric is likely to end up the most affordable all-electric SUV/CUV out there, if I was to guess.
How does this all compare to the Tesla Model Y? I’d say: lower costs and earlier availability (shorter wait times following reservation) balanced out by less performance, the hassle of the car dealership model, the lack of a dedicated superfast-charging network, and less tech (which won’t matter to some customers).
Whereas the Hyundai Kona Electric is likely to see its sales limited by battery supply constraints, the Nissan IMx will instead likely see sales limited simply by a later release date. It’s not actually clear yet when Nissan will be releasing a production version of the IMx, but company execs have previously stated “as early as 2020.”
Despite the ambiguous launch date, the Nissan IMx is still a model to keep a close eye on — due to the fact that it will be sharing a chassis with the Nissan LEAF; the fact that the company is clearly now serious about plug-in electric vehicles; and expectations of good specs.
While we of course don’t have any specifics yet, when considering the launch date of 2020 or later, it seems likely that the model will possess a range of at least ~250 miles per charge. That would then probably make the model suited towards the requirements of most buyers/owners. It wouldn’t, though, provide a substitute for Tesla’s dedicated Supercharger network of superfast-charging stations — giving the Tesla Model Y a definite advantage in that regard, as usual.
As far as other comparisons go, interior space is likely to be similar for the Tesla Model Y, and the Nissan IMx semi-autonomous driving systems aren’t likely to be too far divergent (Tesla’s Autopilot versus Nissan’s ProPilot). Performance and styling are likely to be tipped in Tesla’s direction, but offset by lower pricing for the Nissan offering. While I have no official numbers to go with, my guess would be that the Nissan IMx will undercut the Tesla Model Y by +$5,000 on starting price. Of course, the eventual car will also look much more normal than the concept images above.
Audi E-Tron Quattro (Fully Electric)
The long-awaited, fully electric Audi E-Tron Quattro is finally slated to hit showrooms (in Europe) late next year (late 2019). This is after many years now of PR releases and car show prototypes. When it does (if it does), it will reportedly bring with it a good range (though, we can’t say what the real-world range will be a this point). It should have good performance as well, and we expect it will be able to charge at 150-175 kW superfast-charging stations, which we expect will still be in slim supply.
What it will also bring with it, though, is a starting price of €80,000 ($99,000). Due to much higher pricing, it probably doesn’t make sense to call the Audi E-Tron Quattro a Tesla Model Y competitor — despite the fact that the Model Y will likely play host to a superior range and potentially superior performance.
Rather, the Audi E-Tron Quattro seems slated to be a much delayed competitor to the Tesla Model X … one that Audi may not even be intent to sell very many of. Even presuming that to be the case, though, there are Audi brand loyalists who will likely be happy to give the model a try and may categorize it as a Tesla Model Y competitor.
Volkswagen ID Crozz
Volkswagen will reportedly begin production in the US of a consumer iteration of the previously revealed ID Crozz concept car. The production version of the car will reportedly feature a range of over 200 miles, superfast-charging capability, and solid performance.
At this point, though, it’s hard to tell how serious the 2020 timeline is (as is true with the Nissan IMx as well). It’s also hard to tell what “production” means in this context. (As a reminder, the Hyundai Kona Electric will seemingly be available widely by that point, Tesla Model Y availability should begin to ramp up in 2020, and Nissan IMx availability is a question mark.)
As far as comparisons to the Tesla Model Y, I’ll just limit myself here to noting that Tesla’s Supercharger network is one of its top selling points and Volkswagen’s fast-charger buildout to date has been anemic. We don’t have much in the way of interiors or performance to go on yet.
Other Electric SUV Models — Lynk & Co 01, Jaguar I-PACE, Porsche Mission E Gran Turismo
So, what other all-electric SUVs or CUVs will be on the market by 2020 then? Seemingly, nothing that would compete at a similar price point to the Tesla Model Y (or the Hyundai Kona, Nissan IMx, or Volkswagen ID Crozz).
What we have is the just launched Jaguar I-PACE (starting at $69,500); the future all-electric version of the Lynk & Co 01 (which is quite expensive as well); and a possible Porsche Mission E variant known as the Mission E Gran Turismo (likely to be very expensive).
Anything else? Not really. The options will still be fairly limited when it comes to affordable all-electric SUVs in 2020 — with Hyundai, Nissan, and Tesla being the primary firms offering such models (which is unsurprising, since they are key firms offering compelling EVs now as well).
That being the case, what’s the takeaway implication of this article? The implication, from my perspective, is that the Tesla Model Y won’t be facing much in the way of completion when it launches in 2020. Nissan and Hyundai seem to be the only other automakers seriously intent on offering compelling, affordable, electric SUVs or CUVs anytime soon. Volkswagen may jump into the mix, but we know how cynical CleanTechnica readers (and many writers) are about Volkswagen’s electrification plans.