In a Tweet Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company will host an event on Thursday March 14 to reveal its long-planned Model Y SUV.
The company will host a reveal event at its Hawthorne, California, design studios, as it has done with all previous models. The company said it will offer more detailed specs, as well as rides in the Model Y at the event.
The long-awaited Model Y will be an SUV based on the Model 3, which Musk has promised will go into production in 2020 in China and the U.S.
Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10% bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2019
Musk also implied that the Model Y will use the same batteries as the Model 3 and, being an SUV, will have slightly less range from the same battery sizes. Depending on the battery size, the Model 3 has between 220 and 325 miles of range. (Compared with the Model S on which it is based, the Model X SUV loses about 12 percent in range.)
The Model Y is expected to be much cheaper than the Model X SUV. In another Sunday Tweet, Musk hinted at pricing for the new SUV. He said it will be about 10 percent bigger than the Model 3, and so will cost about 10 percent more. Counting Tesla's $1,200 delivery and documentation fee, that would put the price at an estimated $39,700.
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On Thursday, Tesla announced that it will begin building the Model 3 at a base price of $35,000, the mainstream electric car that hundreds of thousands of buyers made deposits on when the Model 3 was first announced. In 2018, more expensive versions of the Model 3 outsold all other electric cars combined, and outsold most other luxury brands.
Facing a mountain of debt coming due, however, Tesla has been pulling out all the stops to stimulate demand, dropping prices across the board on all its models, opening up markets in Europe and China for the Model 3, and introducing new lower-priced cars.
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Initial reports indicate the company's U.S. sales of the Model 3 dropped dramatically in January when the full federal tax credit expired on its car and the amount was cut in half. The company still sits on a significant portion of its original $1,000 Model 3 deposits (more than 450,000 gathered before deliveries started) from customers who have not ordered more expensive Mid or Long Range versions of the car or yet asked for a refund.
During the Model 3's protracted gestation period, U.S. carbuyers continued to convert from buying sedans to buying SUVs. With only one SUV that starts at nearly $90,000, Tesla has been shut out of the largest part of that market. The Model Y can't come soon enough.