LIVE: Tesla Debuts the Model Y, Its Baby SUV

It’s been a weird few weeks for Tesla. Stores opened and stores closed, a $35,000 Model 3 appeared, the SEC asked a federal judge to charge CEO Elon Musk with contempt of court. But drown it all out, folks, because tonight is about that old school Musk magic. Expect him to walk onstage around 8 pm PDT to unveil Tesla’s latest, greatest offering, the Model Y, its first baby SUV.

If the Model 3 was the EV for the masses, the Model Y is the EV for the masses that the masses really want. The US loves big cars: SUV and crossover sales are currently up 13 percent year-over-year, and just short of half of all light vehicles sold in 2018 slot neatly into those categories. And Tesla certainly believes it has a hit on its hands. “The demand for Model Y will be maybe 50 percent higher than Model 3. Could be even double,” Musk said during a January earnings call.

As the hour of the unveil draws near, though, we have plenty of questions. Musk told investors that the Model Y would share about 75 percent of its part with the Model 3—but how different will it look? How much will it cost? Will it have gullwing doors like its more expensive predecessor, the Model X? How about a third row of seats? When will it be available? And how does Tesla—the company that went through “production hell” to create the Model 3—intend to pull it all off?

Tune in with us as we watch the show go down, and check back below for our latest, live updates.


9:00 pm PDT

And we’re done! Elon seemed to have a lot of fun with the audience during this unveil, cracking lots of jokes and giggling at the outbursts from (adoring) hecklers. But the whole thing was pretty short—just about 30 minutes—and the Tesla CEO spent most of his time reviewing how far his little-electric-vehicle-company-that-could had come. We have so many more questions! Stay tuned to wired.com for what we know so far about the Model Y.

8:57 pm PDT

A big surprise: The Model Y will have seven seats! But it won’t have gullwing doors. Here’s my big question: What becomes of the Model X now?

8:55 pm PDT

And we have some pricing information! Tesla says the Performance Model Y will show up in fall 2020, with a 280 mile range, a 150 mph top speed, a 0 to 60 time of 3.5 seconds, and a $60,000 price tag. The Dual Motor AWD is also slated for fall 2020, with a 280 mile range, a 135 mph top speed, a 0 to 60 sprint of 4.8 seconds, and a $51,000 price tag. Next up in fall 2020: the Long Range Model Y, topping out at 300 miles of range, for $47,000. Finally: The standard range Model Y is set to be released in spring 2021 with a 230 mile range, for a cool $39,000.

8:50 pm PDT

At last, it’s here! Dressed in blue, the Model Y comes on stage. It’s a bit bigger than the Model 3, with a higher roof and a third row, so it seats seven. Musk starts off talking about safety, and a bit on performance, saying it’ll be as functional as an SUV, but as fun to drive as a sports car. The big battery pack in the floor helps keep the center of gravity low, and the motor will provide a 3.5 second 0 to 60 mph time. Range: 300 miles.

8:48 pm PDT

We’ve got an update on Tesla infrastructure: 1,400 supercharger stations and 12,000+ superchargers in 36+ countries. The Canadians in the audience express discontent, and quoth Elon: “I’ve specifically asked about a Saskatchewan supercharger and I’m told it’s under construction.” (Musk’s grandfather is from the Canadian province.) He also promises a station in Kazakhstan, great news for Kazakh Tesla owners. And it feels like he’s about run out of things to say that aren’t about the Model Y. We hope…

8:45 pm PDT

Elon is on to the factory portion of his presentation, talking the Nevada Gigafactory and the one in production in Shanghai, which he says should be finished by the end of the year. I would not call this a “tight five”, but the audience seems to be eating this up.

8:30 pm PDT

Play the hits, Musk: the Roadster, the Model S, the Model X, the Model 3. (Elon confirms that “S” stands for “sedan”, not “saloon”.) The company’s tale, according to Elon, is a lot of “They couldn’t say we could do it…and then we did!” Which, fair enough! He notes that he would have called the Model 3 the Model E—to spell S-E-X—but that Ford holds the “Model E” trademark. “Ford killed sex.”

8:25 pm PDT

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is onstage—black shirt, black jacket, black pants, custom Tesla-branded Nike sneakers—and is starting off talking history. “There was a time when electric cars seemed very stupid,” he says. He’s rolling out past Tesla models, starting with the Roadster. “It’s a bit small,” he says. Next we’ll see the Model S sedan, Model X SUV, and Model 3 sedan.

8:22 pm PDT

It’s beginning! Discover how to tune in right here.

8:00 pm PDT

We’ve reached official show time, but like any rock star, Elon Musk tends to take the stage a little bit late. In the meantime, we’ll remind you that the Model Y is not just an overall big deal for Tesla, it completes something of a quartet, so Tesla’s current lineup includes the Model S, Model X, and Model 3. Get it? S3XY. (Ford holds the trademark to “Model E”.)


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Tesla unveils Model Y SUV as electric vehicle competition heats up

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc unveiled its Model Y electric sports utility vehicle on Thursday evening in California, promising a much-awaited crossover that will face competition from European car makers rolling out their own electric rivals.

Tesla Inc’s Model Y electric sports utility vehicle is pictured in this undated handout photo released on March 14, 2019. Tesla Motors/Handout via Reuters

Chief Executive Elon Musk said the compact SUV, built on the same platform as the Model 3, would first debut in a long-range version with a range of 300 miles priced at about $47,000.

A standard version, to be available sometime in 2021, would cost about $39,000, he said.

Musk unveiled the car at a small event at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, outside Los Angeles, that was streamed online. (www.tesla.com/modely)

Small SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in both the United States and China, the world’s largest auto market, where Tesla is building a factory, making the Model Y well positioned to tap demand.

Tesla has enjoyed little competition thus far for its sedans, but competition for electric SUVs is heating up as Tesla tries to master a new set of economics from the luxury line that made its reputation.

On Thursday, ratings company Fitch warned that, despite Tesla’s early lead, “incumbent carmakers have the ability to catch up … thanks to their capacity to invest and their robust record in product management.”

Tesla’s targeted volume production date of late 2020 would put it behind electric SUV offerings from Volkswagen AG’s Audi, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Shares of Tesla are down 24 percent from an August high of $379.57, when Musk tweeted that he was taking Tesla private.

That plan – later scrapped – ushered in a period of turmoil at the company, from Musk’s public battles with regulators, a flurry of securities lawsuits, cost cutting and layoffs.

Tesla, two weeks ago, said it would close most stores and use savings to cut the price of most cars by 6 percent. But last week, Tesla reversed course and said it would leave many stores open and raised prices back by about 3 percent.

Musk has promised an easier production ramp of the Model Y, since it shares about three-quarters of its parts with the Model 3 and would need only half the capital expenditures of the sedan.

The risk is “quite low” Musk told analysts in January. Tesla would “most likely” build the Model Y at Tesla’s battery factory in Nevada, he said.

Still, the Model Y, like all Tesla’s models, has already seen pre-production delays. Suppliers were originally told that production would start in November 2019, sources told Reuters last year.

In October, Musk said “significant progress” had been made on the Model Y and that he had approved the prototype for production in 2020. In January, he said Tesla had ordered the tooling needed to build the car.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Peter Henderson, Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Himani Sarkar