Tesla is about to launch the Model Y in the coming days, but it’s still unclear how the vehicle will look. The company has kept its compact SUV shrouded in mystery, bar a few teaser images, while gradually ratcheting up the hype around what could be the firm’s biggest-ever selling vehicle.
The company is expected to unveil the finished design at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California at 8 p.m. Pacific time on March 14, complete with a livestream. Its launch has been a long time coming — CEO Elon Musk first mentioned the Model Y in the 2016 master plan, alongside the Model 3 sedan and upcoming pickup truck, as part of its plan to reach a broader set of consumers with a mass market product. In a July 2018 interview, Musk claimed that the firm had nearly completed the design for the Model Y.
It could be the company’s best-selling car of all time, even outshining the Model 3. Although it’s expected to be 10 percent more expensive than the Model 3, the company’s cheapest car, Musk reasoned in a February earnings call that the midsize SUV is the most popular segment of car in the world. While the company expects to produce 500,000 cars total this year, Musk claims that Model Y demand alone could reach between 700,000 and 800,000 cars annually worldwide.
Tesla is set to start production of the Model Y sometime in 2020, with volume production by the end of the year. Ahead of the big reveal, eager fans have produced a series of concepts and renderings to show how the upcoming vehicle may look when it hits the roads. Similar to how the Model 3 is a cheaper version of the Model S, the Model Y is expected to be a cheaper version of the Model X, meaning many of them look to the 3 and X for inspiration about how Tesla may proceed.
Tesla Model Y Design: The Prototype Design
This concept, produced in June 2017, used the Model Y teaser as its starting point. It takes the Model X as its start point, but unlike the Model 3 it retains the logo-on-front design while filling in the surrounding grill. The result is something that looks sleek and unique, but one that clearly distinguishes itself from the more expensive Model X.
“I used elements from the Model 3 and Model X to give the car a decent Tesla look,” Jan Peisert, a web designer based in Düsseldorf, Germany, that runs Peisert Design, told Inverse at the time.
Tesla Model Y Design: The Raised Model 3
This concept, produced by Autocar, favors a measured approach that takes the stylings of the Model 3 and applies them to a compact SUV. The front logo is repositioned onto the hood of the car like on the Model 3, but it features the same raised floor as seen on the Model X. It also retains the Model 3 front lip that replaces the more expensive vehicles’ grill.
Tesla Model Y Design: The Model X Hybrid
These concepts, produced by enthusiast Miguel Massé from Seville, Spain, depicts the Model Y as a beefed-up version of the Model 3, with some minor design tweaks
Massé even produced a version of the event invite with Model Y front and center:
“As you can see I guess it will be a Model 3 with steroids,” Massé tells Inverse. “Slight differences. The nose is taller and a bit wider.”
Tesla Model Y Design: The Stretched Model 3
A Reddit user called “J380” skipped the sketching from scratch and went straight for photoshopping a Model 3 to resemble the Model Y teaser image.
“If you take a Model 3 and align the headlights and the roofline to match the render, this is the result,” the user wrote. “The A pillar is also aligned to match the dimensions/angle. The tires are also aligned with the tires on the render, except they got warped when I was aligning the headlights.”
The end result is something that may look a bit bendy, but could give us the best approximation of the finished product. All will hopefully be revealed in a few days.
Additional reporting by Danny Paez.