Here’s What to Expect From Tomorrow’s Tesla Model Y Reveal

Thursday is sure to bring some surprises to Tesla's lineup, but here's what we know ahead of time.

Tesla will unveil its fifth production car, the Model Y, to the public on Thursday evening. The automaker has teased the upcoming vehicle for some time, building anticipation for an electrified version of a vehicle platform that America has an insatiable demand for: crossover SUVs. The wait will soon be over, so it’s time to recap what we know ahead of tomorrow’s launch, which Tesla will live stream on its website at 8:00 p.m. California time.

Design and Specs

The actual design of the Model Y is still under wraps; however, based on the teasers released by Tesla, we can make a reasonable assumption that the automaker will continue to use the same design language that it presently utilizes across its range. 

Tesla’s newest offering will be built on the same platform as the Model 3 and will share about 75 percent of its components with the car. That doesn’t mean that they will be one in the same, though. As an example, CEO Elon Musk confirmed early on that the Model Y will not feature the Model X’s problem-ridden falcon wing doors.

The Model Y will fill the space that sits between the Model 3 and Model X—a small CUV which learns from the mistakes of both cars. Musk said to expect a vehicle which has about 10 percent more room than the Model 3 and slightly less range due to decreased aerodynamics.

Pricing and Production

Buyers interested in purchasing the Model Y will pay a higher premium than if they were purchasing the Model 3. Musk mentioned on Twitter to expect pricing to be around 10 percent higher than the Model 3, presumably due to increased sizing and the CUV tax as a whole. Preliminary figures point at $40,000 being the target for a Standard Range variant of the vehicle.

It’s important to note that there hasn’t been an official announcement on the range variants of the Model Y, only a note that it will be slightly less than the Model 3, which has three different battery trims available to purchase in the United States today. Likely, Tesla will begin production of the Model Y with a standard long-range trim and premium interior, similar to how it introduced the Model 3 to combat the S-Curve of production.

Where the Model Y will be built is still up in the air. During Tesla’s last fourth-quarter earnings call, Musk mentioned that Tesla was considering Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada as the home base for the Model Y, an odd decision since the CUV shares so many components with the Model 3 which is assembled in Fremont, California. Tesla is also considering building a world-market version at Gigafactory Shanghai, despite construction of the facility not being completed as of yet.

Production for the Model Y is expected to begin by the end of 2019 and is anticipated to reach full volume by December 2020.

Demand and the Model 3

During Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Elon Musk stated that he expected the Model Y to have a demand of at least 50 percent higher than the Model 3. He later goes on to say that worldwide demand for the Model 3 hovers around 500,000 units per year, with a strong economy potentially boosting that number somewhere between 700,000 and 800,000 units annually.

If demand pivots from the Model 3 to the Model Y, the end result could potentially be in an influx of Model 3s to the used market. This shift likely won’t occur for at least another 12 to 18 months, economic stability permitting.