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Tesla begins deliveries of the Model Y electric crossover

Tesla began deliveries of its latest electric car — the Model Y — on Friday the 13th.

While Tesla kicked off deliveries of previous models with great fanfare, the Model Y’s launch was more low key. Instead of a flashy event and an Elon Musk speech, Tesla marked the start of Model Y deliveries with a short YouTube video. The video shows cars being assembled at Tesla’s California factory, and driven around in the style of a car commercial.

The Model Y is essentially a crossover version of the Model 3, with a taller roof and a hatchback instead of a trunk. The crossover is also longer than the Model 3, and stands a bit taller. The two vehicles share many components, including a large dashboard central touchscreen that takes the place of nearly all analog controls. In back, though, the Model Y offers more cargo space. Tesla has also said it will offer an optional third row, bringing seating capacity up from five to seven.

The Model Y is available in two flavors — Long Range and Performance — both with standard dual-motor all-wheel drive. Starting at $52,990, the Long Range model has a 316-mile range, 135 mph top speed, and will do zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, according to Tesla. The Performance version ($60,990) will do zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 145 mph, according to Tesla. The range doesn’t suffer much, as the Model Y Performance is still rated at 315 miles per charge.

Model Y deliveries begin!

An “upgrade” for the Performance version raises the top speed to 155 mph, but also reduces the range to 280 miles, according to Tesla. A Standard Range version, with less range and a lower starting price, will start production in 2021, according to Tesla.

As with other current Tesla vehicles, the Model Y comes standard with the automaker’s Autopilot driver aid. This automated acceleration, braking, and lane centering on certain stretches of highway, automated lane changes, and automated parking. Autopilot also includes Summon, which allows the car to drive itself in and out of parking spaces with no one on board. Tesla offers an upgraded version for $7,000 labeled “Full Self Driving,” but all of the automaker’s driver aids still require an attentive human to monitor the machinery.

Given American buyers’ preference for crossovers over sedans, the Model Y could become more popular than the Model 3 — currently Tesla’s bestseller. That depends on how the Standard Range version is priced, however. The Model 3 racked up hundreds of thousands of pre-orders based on a claimed $35,000 base price, but Tesla has emphasized more expensive versions.

Tesla still has a few vehicles in the pipeline, including the second-generation Roadster sports cars, Cybertruck pickup truck, and an electric semi-truck.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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