Tesla plans to follow up the Model 3 with a crossover called the Model Y. Just as the Model 3 is a smaller counterpart to the Model S, the Model Y will be the little sibling to the Model X. Other than that, we know little about Tesla’s second crossover save for a reveal tentatively scheduled for March 2019.
Dark teaser images released by the firm suggest the Model Y will borrow a handful of styling cues from the Model X, especially when viewed from the front. It’s too early to tell exactly what it will look like, though.
Interestingly, the Model Y doesn’t appear to have any sideview mirrors, indicating Tesla is again trying to push for cameras as an alternative. You might remember the original Model X concept had cameras instead of exterior mirrors, but Tesla couldn’t convince government regulators to make that setup legal. Eliminating mirrors would reduce aerodynamic drag and improve efficiency. It’s a solution Audi will adopt with the upcoming e-tron quattro.
What’s under the sheet metal is just as mysterious as the design itself. Tesla CEO Elon Musk originally said the Model Y would be based on an entirely new platform and predicted the SUV would arrive in 2019 or 2020. During a recent earnings call, Musk conceded the Model Y will ride on the platform that underpins the Model 3. That’s what most people originally expected, especially considering the difficulties the company has faced in ramping up Model 3 production.
Building the Model Y on its own platform would have been a risky move. Using the Model 3’s existing architecture will cut costs and increase profits, since Tesla can charge a premium for the Model Y over its sedan counterpart. The company needs to find a way to boost profits as it burns through cash on expensive projects like the Model 3. And while stock prices show investors are willing to wait through more profit-less quarters, it’s unclear how long their patience will last.
Musk originally tried to justify using a different platform for the Model Y by saying basing the Model X on the Model S platform was a mistake. He said using a sedan platform for the SUV led to unnecessary compromises, according to The Verge. Tesla has actually been criticized for making the Model X too different from the Model S, adding features like the famous falcon doors that made the SUV more complex to design and build. It also caused reliability issues.
One more thing: The Model Y might not actually be called the Model Y. Musk reportedly used the phrase “if it’s called the Model Y” during the earnings call, implying that the decision is still up in the air. Model Y would complete a long-running (and admittedly stale) joke by having the names of Tesla’s cars spell “S3XY.”
We expect the Model Y will arrive with a price tag in the vicinity of $37,000. Production is tentatively scheduled to start in early 2020, though years of covering Tesla have taught us to take its deadlines with a grain of salt. Stay tuned, the California-based company will release more details about its next new model over the coming months to build up excitement.
Updated on June 6: Added the latest information and teaser image.