Tesla may unveil the Model Y this year — here’s everything we know about the vehicle so far

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has indicated that Tesla will unveil its next vehicle, the Model Y crossover SUV, this year.

The vehicle will be the automaker’s second SUV and will be built on the same platform as Tesla’s most recent vehicle, the Model 3 sedan. Musk has said the vehicle will transform Tesla’s manufacturing process, representing an improvement over the delay-ridden production ramp for the Model 3.

Musk suggested on Wednesday via Twitter that Tesla will make an announcement on Thursday, though he did not specify or hint at what the announcement will involve. Musk’s tweet fueled speculation that the announcement might involve the Model Y, as Musk has indicated that Tesla will unveil the vehicle by the middle of this year.

Here’s what we know about the Model Y so far.

Tesla will probably build the Model Y at the Gigafactory starting in 2020.

Tesla

Tesla said in January that it will likely produce the Model Y at its Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. Volume production of the vehicle will begin by the end of 2020, the automaker said.

“This year we will start tooling for Model Y to achieve volume production by the end of 2020, most likely at Gigafactory 1,” Tesla said in its fourth-quarter earnings letter.

The Model Y would be the first vehicle assembled at the Nevada Gigafactory, which currently makes batteries and drive units.

Reuters first reported that Tesla will also build the Model Y at its upcoming factory in Shanghai.


It will share many parts with the Model 3.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Tesla said in January than the Model Y will be built on the same platform as the Model 3. The Model Y will share around 75% of its parts with the Model 3, which should reduce production costs, Musk said during the automaker’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

 


But it may have a few features that are not in the Model 3.

Tesla

Internal Tesla documents reviewed by Business Insider said the Model Y will have some features that are not in the Model 3, like a third row of seats, an IP Riser, and a center console riser.

A Tesla representative told Business Insider the details in the documents were no longer accurate, but the automaker later confirmed details from the documents, like the plan to produce the vehicle at the Gigafactory and the fact that the Model Y will be built on the same platform as the Model 3, in its fourth-quarter earnings letter.

 


Elon Musk has approved a prototype for production.

Joe Skipper/Reuters

Musk said in October that he had approved a prototype of the Model Y for production.

“We’ve made significant progress on the Model Y,” Musk said during Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call. “In fact, I approved the prototype to into production recently.”


Tesla may have revealed part of the vehicle in a video.

YouTube / Tesla

Tesla released a video in May that may have given a brief look at the Model Y.

The video, titled “Tesla 2018,” was posted to the company’s YouTube profile and appears to show some of the projects the company plans to work on over the next few years. CEO Elon Musk called it the “Tesla quarterly all-hands video” on Twitter.

About 15 seconds in, the video cuts to a shot of a white vehicle that is mostly covered by a sheet, though a small portion of the vehicle’s side and rear segments is visible.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment when asked about the vehicle shown in the video.


The Model Y will transform Tesla’s manufacturing process.

Tesla

The Model Y will be a game changer for manufacturing, Musk said in May.

“I think Model Y is going to be a manufacturing revolution,” Musk said during Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call. “It will be, I think, incredible from a manufacturing standpoint, because we do not want to go through this pain again,” he said, referring to the Model 3 production ramp.

Tesla is betting big on automation despite the fact that Model 3 production was delayed because of problems with new automated manufacturing systems at the Gigafactory and the automaker’s assembly plant in Fremont, California. Musk has said many times that Tesla is focused on building the “machine that builds the machine,” which basically means a highly automated manufacturing system.

Tesla is betting that its Model 3 manufacturing woes will ultimately set it up for a successful rollout of the Model Y.


It may have falcon-wing doors.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In October 2015, Musk posted a tweet suggesting the Model Y could have falcon-wing doors.

In a response to a Twitter follower asking if the Model 3 would have falcon-wing doors, Musk said that “there will be a Model 3 and a Model Y. One of the two will.”

Musk later deleted the tweet.

The Model 3 does not have falcon-wing doors.


A solar roof could also be an option.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

In November 2016, Musk said via Twitter that Tesla would likely begin to include solar roofs as an option for its cars. Musk didn’t share a specific timeline of when to expect the feature, but he did say at the time that it “would probably be an option” on the Model 3. Solar roofs are not available for the Model 3.

Musk has been hinting at the possibility of Tesla building cars with solar roofs for some time.

After the unveiling of Tesla’s solar glass shingles in 2016, Musk tweeted that the same glass technology could be used on the roof of a car. Musk said that its solar glass for cars would be net positive, meaning that it would create more energy than it used to power certain vehicle features, like defrosters.

 


It will likely have a range of at least 250 miles per charge.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

We haven’t heard any details about the Model Y’s range just yet, but given that the Model X’s base trim has a 270-mile range and the Model 3’s base trim has a 264-mile range, it seems likely that one of the Model Y’s trims will have at least a 250-mile range.


Expect more cargo space.

Matthew DeBord/BI

The Model X has spacious seating, but when it first launched it was a little tight on cargo space. That’s because the second row of seats didn’t fold down.

In November 2016, though, Tesla began offering a configuration that allows the second-row seats in a five-seat Model X to fold down, providing 88 cubic feet of interior cargo storage.

Given the problems Tesla had with cargo space in the Model X at the launch, it’s likely we’ll see lots of interior storage in the Model Y.

 

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