More than three years after it was first unveiled, the much-anticipated Tesla Model Y is landing in Australia from around August.
It features a driving range of up to 514km (WLTP), high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cabin filter, and a high-tech minimalistic interior as standard like the popular Model 3 sedan on which it’s based.
First deliveries will commence from around August 2022 to February 2023 depending on the variant, though this is subject to change due to the ongoing supply and production crisis.
UPDATE #2 17/6/22: Tesla has raised the price of the Model Y RWD by $3400 and Performance AWD by $2800 one week after it opened Australian orders.
UPDATE #1 17/6/22: Following some overseas markets, Tesla Australia is now offering a more affordable 'Enhanced Autopilot' option package that brings additional safety assist features without spending $10,100 for the 'Full Self-Driving Capability'. The story has been updated accordingly.
UPDATE 14/6/22: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Model Y RWD DC charging and power figures. This has been corrected to 210kW and 220kW respectively.
Size and design
The Tesla Model Y brings a similar exterior design formula as its smaller sedan twin, but in a slightly larger and higher package with a more practical hatchback boot opening. It retains the same aerodynamic 0.23 drag coefficient as the Model 3.
Meanwhile, the minimalist vegan interior is essentially a mirror of the Model 3 but gains raised seats on rails for a higher driving position, includes a HEPA cabin filter as standard, a panoramic glass roof without an intruding centre crossbar, and double glazed front and rear windows.
Available in a five-seater only, there are two ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, the rear-row backrests can be reclined, and there are levers in the boot to fold the seats in a 40/20/40 split to store larger items. It also features a frunk that's slightly larger than the Model 3.
Although the top-spec Performance guise has lowered suspension, Tesla doesn't disclose how much it affects ground clearance figures.
Range and powertrain
The Model Y is offered in two different battery sizes and chemistries, plus two powertrains at launch.
The Model Y RWD comes with a 57.5kWh (usable) lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery good for a claimed 455km of range (WLTP) and acceleration from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds.
The Model Y Performance ups the ante and adds an electric motor at the front for AWD, while packing a larger 76KWh (usable) nickel-colbalt-aluminum (NCA) battery with a claimed 514km range (WLTP) and cuts the 0-100km/h time to just 3.7 seconds.
As per running updates to Model Ys in China and Hong Kong, it should come with a 16-volt lithium-ion auxiliary battery, which replaces the archaic 12-volt lead acid battery used in all other vehicles. The new battery is lighter, more compact and should last significantly longer with the ability to recharge alongside the main EV battery pack while plugged in.
According to submissions to Australia’s road vehicle regulator, all Model Ys can tow up to 1600kg (braked) or 750kg (non-braked) trailers. Tesla has confirmed a tow hitch option is coming in 2023.
Using a standard 400-volt class architecture, zecar believes the Model Y can charge at up to 210kW DC or 250kW DC depending on the variant or 11kW AC maximum speeds.
Since the base Model Y RWD uses an LFP battery, Tesla recommends it can be charged regularly to 100 per cent without degradation concerns, while the Performance’s NCA pack should be charged at up to 90 per cent to preserve its health, unless a fully-charged battery is needed during long road trips.
It also has exclusive access to the convenient Tesla Supercharging network in Australia, though it is starting to open up to all EV models overseas. We’ve detailed whether it's a key selling point to buy a Tesla in Australia here.
The company estimates a 15 minute top-up on its fastest 250kW DC V3 Supercharger adds 261km of range (or around 50 per cent) to the Model Y.
The medium SUV uses the standard Type 2/CCS charging connector and includes a three-pin trickle Tesla Mobile Connector home charger in Australia, despite its removal in the USA.
The Model Y isn’t capable of vehicle-to-load nor bidirectional charging.
When using its built-in Google Maps navigation system and set to a Tesla Supercharger as the destination, it can precondition the battery for optimum fast charging speeds. It also offers two regenerative braking modes – off or one pedal driving.
Safety and technology
While the Tesla Model Y hasn’t been tested by ANCAP yet, its Model 3 sibling did receive a five-star safety rating under the 2019 testing regime.
All models come with ‘Tesla Vision’ camera-based active safety assistance features dubbed 'Basic Autopilot', including auto emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, lane-centring assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot camera view, reversing camera, and front and rear parking sensors.
Tesla Australia now offers a $5100 'Enhanced Autopilot' option package, which adds 'Navigate on Autopilot' on highways, automatic lane changing assist, 'Autopark', and 'Summon' and 'Smart Summon' remote features.
Opting for the $10,100 ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ – which isn’t full autonomous driving – brings all Enhanced Autopilot assist systems and 'Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control'. It also 'promises' full autononmous driving sometime in the future and 'Autosteer' on city streets.
As per the Model 3, it features a 15-inch horizontal infotainment system running Tesla’s own operating system capable of over-the-air updates and is powered by a new computer-grade AMD Ryzen processor.
The touchscreen features built-in Google Maps navigation, built-in dashcam and ‘Sentry Mode’ recording functionality, arcade games, and music and video streaming services.
Tesla includes a 30-day ‘Premium Connectivity’ trial to access the latter using its own data connection (instead of relying on a mobile wifi hotspot), plus live-traffic lines and satellite view maps. It is a $9.99 per month subscription afterwards.
The central screen is also home to the speedometer, drive direction indicator, remaining state of charge, outside visualisations and other important information due to the lack of an instrument cluster in front of the driver, as well as being the hub to change the climate control, fan vent direction, and turn on the Model Y exclusive HEPA air filter.
Tesla does not offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection.
Additionally, it’s compatible with a connected mobile app that allows owners to monitor the vehicle’s status, remotely precondition the cabin, and even use their smartphones as the sole car key in lieu of the included Tesla Key Card.
Price and models
With only two variants, the 2023 Tesla Model Y starts from $72,300 to $96,700 before on-road costs (previously $68,900 to $93,900 when the order books first opened on 10 July 2022). These prices exclude Tesla's additional $1375 delivery fee and $350 order reservation fee.
Compared to current Model 3 prices, the jump into the more practical crossover SUV is $5100 to $6800 more expensive.
Sadly, the Model Y RWD is just above the thresholds for EV state rebates in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, while the Performance attracts the luxury car tax (LCT).
However, for company fleets, the former is eligible for the Labor government’s fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption electric car discount scheme.
As at publication, Tesla estimates deliveries for new Model Y orders stretch into 2023.
The mid-spec Model Y Long Range model won’t be offered in Australia at launch, but it could join the line-up later on.
Online reservations are open now via Tesla Australia’s website and examples are on display in its showrooms.
Model Y RWD – $72,300 before on-road costs
The single-motor Model Y RWD model comes with as standard:
- 60.5kWh (gross) LFP battery
- 19-inch Gemini wheels
- Five-seat black vegan interior with wood decor
- 15-inch central infotainment system with cellular connectivity, over-the-air software update capabilities, and 30-day Premium Connectivity trial
- Dual Qi wireless charging pad with four USB-C charging ports
- 128GB USB-A stick for dashcam and Sentry Mode recording
- Tesla Vision Basic Autopilot active safety assistance systems (details above)
- LED headlights, daytime running lights and taillights
- Dual-zone climate control
- HEPA cabin air filter (Bioweapon Defence mode)
- Premium audio (13 speaker, 1 subwoofer and 2 amps)
- Tinted fixed panoramic glass roof
- Ambient interior lighting
- Power folding, auto-dimming, heated wing mirrors
- Power adjustable front seats
- Heated front and rear seats
- Interior floor mats
- Double glazed front and rear windows
- Independently folding rear row seats
Model Y Performance – $96,700 before on-road costs
The dual-motor Model Y Performance AWD adds:
- 82kWh (gross) NCA battery
- 21-inch Überturbine wheels
- LED front fog lights
- Performance brakes with red-painted callipers
- Carbon fibre rear spoiler
- Lowered suspension
- Aluminium pedals
- Track mode
- Increased top speed to 250km/h (up from 217km/h)
- Standard paint – no cost: Pearl White Multi-Coat
- Premium paint – $1500: Solid Black, Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, Red Multi-Coat ($2900)
- Black and white vegan interior – $1500
- 20-inch Induction wheels (Model Y RWD only) – $2900
- Enhanced Autopilot – $5100: Details above
- ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ – $10,100: Details above
- Premium Connectivity – $9.99/month: Details above
Warranty and servicing
Tesla backs its EVs with a four-year/80,000km vehicle warranty and roadside assistance with a different high-voltage battery warranty depending on the drivetrain variant.
For the base Model Y RWD, it has a battery warranty of eight-years/160,000km, whereas the Model Y Performance battery is covered for eight-years/192,000km. Tesla promises it’ll keep 70 per cent of its health over the coverage period.
The fledgeling American carmaker adopts a condition-based servicing scheme, meaning the vehicle will notify the owner when it's due for a check-up via the mobile app to book a service centre or mobile service appointment.
Tesla also recommends a range of specific routine maintenance tasks, including:
- Cabin air filter – every two years
- HEPA filter – every three years
- Tyre rotation, balance and wheel alignment – every 10,000km/if the tread depth difference is 1.5mm or more
- Brake fluid test – every two years
- Air conditioning desiccant bag – replace every four years
- Cleaning and lubricating brake callipers – every 12 months/20,000km (for cars in cold weather regions only)
How does it compare to other EVs?
Figures by Danny Thai
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