A podcast dedicated to Tesla Motors claims to have been leaked details of the automaker's upcoming compact crossover that'll be based on the current Model 3: the Model Y.
The Tesla Show, which bills itself as "a podcast about Tesla as viewed through the lens of two technologists," alleges that "a little birdie" has informed it of standard features on the Model Y, as well as the base model's capability and prices.
According to the podcast's tweet, base models will cost between $35,000 and $40,000 USD, approximately what Tesla has promised the base Model 3 will cost. Tesla has yet to manufacture a base Model 3 and sell it for the claimed $35,000 tag, prioritizing more expensive Model 3 and its higher profit margins first, but the automaker is expected to sell its first base Model 3 as early as this spring.
Base Model Ys are claimed to have a range exceeding 250 miles, or greater, than that of the least expensive Model 3. With their 50 kWh battery packs, entry-level Model 3s are only capable of an estimated 220-mile range, meaning that Tesla would either have to further advance its powertrain technologies to get 250 miles from 50 kWh, or that even starter Model Ys would need to use the Model 3's larger 75 kWh pack, if not an intermediate pack size between the two. Because batteries are expensive, this would drive the base Model Y's price up thousands of dollars. Even Tesla may have not decided how to go about achieving this range goal, hence a fuzzy prize estimate.
Though the Model 3 on which the Y will be based has rear-wheel-drive variants, the Model Y will allegedly be all-wheel-drive only. Tesla's automated safety assist suite Autopilot is claimed to advance to Hardware version 3.5 from today's 2.5, with 3.0 suggested by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in October to be due out this April. Equipment updates for Hardware 3.5 are claimed to consist of more cameras, and a potential in-house radar system, but no LIDAR. With this upgrade, the Model Y is claimed to be capable of SAE level four autonomy, though as outlined by The Drive's Alex Roy, the SAE's misuse of the word "autonomy" is dangerous to consumers.
Elon Musk confirmed via Twitter on Monday that Tesla will produce the Model Y starting in 2020 in both North America and at its Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, China, where Tesla held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.
Reveal of the Model Y is to be expected by mid-year, according to Musk, with one potential date being March 15. The automaker has yet to announce the specific date of the vehicle's unveiling, but it will make a hullaballoo before it does, so odds are nobody will miss the Model Y's debut.