Tonight, Tesla revealed the Model Y, and thanks to the reveal of the Tesla Roadster as part of the Tesla Semi announcement, we were expecting some surprises.
The night started with Elon Musk walking us through the history of the vehicles that Tesla has delivered (first generation Roadster, Model S, Model X, and Model 3), the vehicles that Tesla intends to bring to market soon (the new Roadster and Tesla Semi), and how Tesla built the Gigafactories for those cars.
The next thing that Musk covered was the Solar Roof and Power Wall, and he mentioned that this would be the year of these products. Those who follow Tesla may have been mildly surprised by this, as the solar roof in particular got a lot of attention a few years ago, but has been almost completely overlooked lately.
A Supercharger update followed this, noting the great expansion that has already occurred, the expansion they expect to continue in the future, and a bit about the faster V3 Superchargers.
Musk then covered Tesla’s mission and how critical it is to what the company does. For anyone who questioned why the Model Y was unveiled now, this is your answer. Musk made a point to show how in the past ten years, the industry has changed from one opposed to the idea of electric cars, to many manufacturers doubling down on the transition year after year, and the role Tesla has played in that is massive. The point of the reveal tonight is to get those companies to challenge Tesla to create better electric SUVs faster than Tesla can, while signaling to people who may be thinking of purchasing an SUV in the near future that they may want to wait and get a Model Y instead of something else.
We finally got to the unveiling of the Model Y, and its look was not a surprise. In fact, it looked exactly like I expected it to — it’s a larger version of the Model 3 with an EPA range estimated to be 300 miles for the RWD variant. And just like Musk alluded to before the reveal, it is about 10% more expensive and 10% less efficient.
Production begins “late next year.”
The unveiling of Model Y went pretty quickly, and was light on details. And that brings us to…
The Biggest Surprise
To me, the biggest surprise of the night was that there was no giant surprise. The Model Y wasn’t hiding a truck, the Model S and X aren’t refreshed, and at the end of the event, it was just the Model Y.
This surprise, or lack thereof, may have been disappointing to a lot of people who expected something big and flashy. As I’ve reflected on it writing this article, however, I’m not disappointed at all about it.
Tonight we saw a confident Elon Musk announce production of a vehicle that Tesla knows it can deliver to market. The Model Y is expected to be the most popular vehicle that Tesla has produced yet, and one of the most popular in the world. Why overshadow that achievement with something else?
Unlike past announcements, there was no mention of “production hell” or what a challenge bringing the Model Y to production would be. The history of Tesla and its various problems led us to this point, where Musk expects that Tesla can confidently deliver on its production goals exactly as expected.
And that’s the surprise. Tesla acted like — and for perhaps the first time is — a major automaker announcing a new vehicle.
Stay tuned for much more exclusive content from the Model Y event. CleanTechnica had three reporters on hand.