Australian Tesla fans collapsed when the electric car maker began taking orders for its new SUV. We find out how good it is.
The huge daylight between the leader in sales of electric vehicles Tesla and the rest of the automotive industry is about to get bigger when the SUV Model Y arrives Down Under.
The Model 3 sedan already dominates electric vehicle sales in Australia. Despite supply problems, the Model 3 attracted 4,500 buyers in the first five months of the year, more than half of the country’s total EV market.
Given that sedans are seriously on the nose of Australian car buyers, this is a huge effort.
But Model 3 sales are likely to be heavily overshadowed – and potentially cannibalized – by the new Model Y, which will take advantage of the obsession of Australian SUV buyers.
Tesla opened the order books for the Model Y on June 10, telling customers who have registered for the rear-wheel drive model that they will receive their cars delivered between August and November this year. Until June 14, the delivery deadlines were between February and May next year. Deliveries of the twin-engine model were expected to begin in November, but this was postponed to February.
It is impossible to know how many vehicles have been ordered, as Tesla is known to be secretive about its order books, but initial haste has prompted Tesla founder Elon Musk to tweet: “We are working to speed up production of the Y steering wheel). I didn’t expect the demand to be so great! ”
Tesla raised the price of the Model Y RWD by $ 3,400 within a week of its launch to about $ 78,000 while driving.
It misses subsidies of about $ 3,000 for electric vehicles offered by state governments, but buyers at NSW will be entitled to a stamp duty refund of about $ 2,600.
The cheaper Model 3 qualifies for discounts from the state budget, so in practice the Model Y will cost approximately $ 10,000 more.
A few hundred kilometers behind the wheel suggest that this will not be an obstacle for most.
The Model Y is basically a different body with the same bases as the Model 3. It is about 4 cm wider, 5 cm longer and 18 cm taller, but the electric motor and battery are the same. The rear-wheel drive model weighs approximately 150 kg more than the Model 3, which dulls its acceleration. Tesla says that the Model 3 will reach 100 km / h in 6.1 seconds, and the Model Y takes 6.9 seconds. The claimed mileage is 455 km, which is less than 491 km on 3. The two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive version, which will cost around $ 105,000 to drive when it arrives, increases the range to 514 km and reduces the time from 0 -100 km / h in just 3.7 seconds.
Our test route included much of the highway – where electric cars are less efficient because they can’t recover from braking – and indications were that it was good for about 410 km. The requested range can be achieved by city driving.
The quoted time for 0-100 km / h is also inconvenient. It feels like acceleration is very fast, but the Model Y is most impressive when asked to overtake at speed. There is an instantaneous and relentless surge of power when you press the gas.
The Y model feels composed through the turns. You can feel its two-ton mass move into narrower corners, but precise handling and excellent traction increase the driver’s confidence. The Model Y was able to smooth cracked pavements and settled well after larger bumps, although the ride feels a little more uneven than the Model 3.
Inside, the Model Y feels noticeably more spacious than the Model 3, especially in the rear, where the higher roof and wider footprint free up more leg and head space. A flat floor means that passengers in the middle rear seat do not have to stretch their legs over a transmission tunnel. There is also enough legroom under the front seats.
The room feels on a par with large diesel SUVs such as the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, which cost similar money. The cargo space with the rear seats folded is an impressive 2,158 liters, which only overshadows the 2011 Sorento liter. The Model 3 can only hold 649 liters.
The Model Y’s cabin supports the minimalist design of the Model 3. There are no buttons or discs and everything – including opening and closing the glove compartment – is done via the 15-inch landscape-oriented central screen.
Other manufacturers have more user-friendly and less distraction systems, as well as a mirror image of the smartphone, which is lacking in Tesla, but navigation is the best in the business, and the audio system is a cracker, with a pumping base and impressive clarity.
The gaps in the panel are not as precise as the Japanese and European rivals, the rear view is very poor and the full-length glass roof can be problematic in the hot Australian summer, but overall the Model Y is a classy act.
The Model Y sets a new standard for electric SUVs with impressive acceleration, sleek cab and composite handling.
TESLA MODEL AND RWD VITALS
PRICE From about $ 74,300 by car
WARRANTY / SERVICE 4 years, 80,000 km, no fixed service price
SAFETY 7 airbags, automatic emergency stop, lane and dead zone maintenance assistant, rear cross traffic signal, active cruise
ENGINE Single engine, rated power: 192kW / 420Nm
Range 455 km
LUGGAGE 854 liters