Innovation

Tesla's next electric car is about to hit the road as delivery emails start

The new entry-level vehicle could shake up the market.

Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Tesla Model Y, the company's forthcoming compact sport utility vehicle, looks set to finally reach consumers.

Fans on social media have started sharing confirmation emails this week showing their pre-order is set for delivery in March. Three users on Reddit claimed the earliest delivery date on offer was March 15, one day and one year after CEO Elon Musk first unveiled the all-electric vehicle at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California.

The vehicle's launch is a key moment for Tesla, as it continues its push toward offering mass-market electric vehicles. It's a three-phase plan first outlined in the company's 2016 second master plan. The first phase was the Model 3 sedan that entered production in July 2017, with a $35,000 starting price making it by far Tesla's cheapest car. It continues with the $39,000 Model Y, and looks set to conclude with the $39,900 Cybertruck with production starting in late 2021.

This week, fans shared screenshots of emails confirming their delivery. A Twitter user called "hwfeinstein" shared their confirmation on Tuesday:

The order confirmation.hwfeinstein/Twitter

The Model Y comes with seven seats, two more than the similarly-shaped Model 3, with the ability to fold the rear five seats flat. It offers 66 cubic feet of cargo space, a 15-inch touchscreen, and a suite of cameras and sensors designed to support full autonomous driving.

It will be available in a series of configurations:

  • Standard Range with 230 miles of range, a 120 mph top speed, 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of 5.9 seconds, and a price of $39,000. This version is expected to ship later, originally announced with a shipping date of spring 2021.
  • Long Range with 300 miles of range, a 130 mph top speed, 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of 5.5 seconds, and a price of $47,000.
  • Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive with 280 miles of range, a 135 mph top speed, 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of 4.8 seconds, and a price of $51,000.
  • Performance with 280 miles of range, a 150 mph top speed, 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of 3.5 seconds, and a price of $60,000.

While the latter three vehicles were originally announced with a fall 2020 arrival date, this has gradually crept up the calendar. During the third-quarter 2019 earnings call in October of that year, Musk revealed that the calendar had been moved to the summer due to faster-than-expected preparations at the Fremont plant. In the fourth-quarter earnings released in January, the company confirmed it had started producing the car in limited quantities and is expected to start shipping to consumers by March.

The Tesla Model Y.Tesla

On Reddit, users' orders showed a variety of cars shipping soon. User "CarlDrogoo" received an email for March delivery for his all-wheel-drive configuration with performance upgrade, having ordered on the first day of availability. User "DieEierVonSanta" received a confirmation for the same configuration, despite ordering just last month. User "sims89" also received an email for their order placed in January.

The Model Y could send demand for the company's vehicles soaring. When it released the Model 3, it had only shipped around 250,000 vehicles in the company's entire lifespan. As of the most recent quarter it has now shipped nearly a million.

Those figures could rise far higher. Musk said during the company's fourth-quarter 2018 earnings call that the midsize SUV "is the most popular type of vehicle, so we'll probably see a higher volume of Y than 3." Statista shows it commands 40 percent of the American car market.

Tesla is building out capacity in its factories to meet the high demand, meeting Musk's goal of placing a Gigafactory on every continent. The Fremont plant is aiming to produce 500,000 vehicles per year, as is the Giga Shanghai facility that started delivering its first cars earlier this year. Giga Berlin, announced in December 2019, is also set to reach similar levels of production.

After these early deliveries, shipments for the Model Y could soon rise to new highs.

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