Slipped into other news in Tesla’s fresh shareholder letter, and also mentioned briefly and without emphasis on today’s conference call, was the news that Tesla has started limited production of the Model Y. It was announced in a super quiet way, but this is the first official announcement regarding Tesla Model Y production starting in this quarter, let alone January.
CleanTechnica was first to report that Tesla Model Y production would begin in or near the first quarter of 2020. We wrote about that on October 15, 2019. The first time I saw anyone else report something similar was on December 3, 2019, when Deutsche Bank indicated in a research note to clients that it had gathered similar intel.
As I’ve noted previously several times, production ≠ deliveries. Previously, Elon Musk indicated that Model Y deliveries might start in the 2nd quarter of 2020. On the 3rd quarter conference call a few months ago, he said, “We’re also ahead of schedule on Model Y preparations in Fremont, and we’ve moved the launch timeline from fall 2020 to summer 2020. There may be some room for improvement there, but we’re confident about summer 2020.”
However, we then heard rumors in the past week or so of early buyers getting calls about potential delivery in February (if they buy the Model Y Performance) or March/April (if they get the Model Y Long Range).
Indeed, everything seems to be moving faster than expected. In today’s shareholder letter, Tesla wrote, “We will start delivering Model Y vehicles by the end of Q1 2020.” This has got to be the quietest announcement about such a gigantic product going into production and making its way to customer hands that I’ve ever seen. Nothing else comes close, in fact. The Model Y is expected to outsell the Model 3, Model S, and Model X combined — and the Model 3 is already one of the best selling cars in the USA and the #1 best selling passenger vehicle in some countries, the Netherlands and Norway. All I can assume is that Tesla doesn’t want too much attention on the Model Y launch 1) in case some unforeseen challenges arise, and 2) to not hurt Model 3 demand and sales in the short term.
Currently, the combined Model 3 and Model Y production rate in Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, is ~400,000 vehicles per year. Tesla expects to somewhat slowly increase Model Y production capacity there, but that actually means increasing production capacity by 100,000 units by the middle of the year. “The ramp of Model Y will be gradual as we will be adding additional machinery in various production shops. After such expansions are done by mid-2020, installed combined Model 3 and Model Y capacity should reach 500,000 units per year.”
Over in China, Tesla didn’t provide timelines for this, but the company did say that it expects to produce at least as many Model Y crossovers and Model 3 sedans there.
The other major update regarding Model Y was regarding better range than initially indicated: “Increased Model Y all-wheel drive EPA range to 315 miles from 280 miles.”
We toyed with a Model Y forum almost a year ago when the small SUV was unveiled: TeslaModelY.Club. With production begun and deliveries around the corner, we’re going to start using that forum again now. If you’re interested in the Model Y or have special information to share about the vehicle, which we expect to become the best selling passenger vehicle in the world someday, we hope you’ll join.
Can’t wait for the Model Y? Prefer a Model 3 for its superior driving characteristics anyway? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404. Or not. Always best to use the code of the owner who most helped you decide on a Tesla, imho.
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Tesla Model Y photos by Kyle Field for CleanTechnica. Photo of Model Y production courtesy Tesla.