The long-awaited Tesla Model Y crossover SUV has been given running improvements in anticipation of its potential Australian launch.
The made-in-China electric SUV has gained double glazed rear windows (previously only front), a folding parcel shelf for the boot (previously not included due to parts shortages), and ‘Solid Black’ is now the no-cost standard colour (previously ‘Pearl White Multi-Coat’).
Importantly, the Model Y now features 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.
These minor updates have been reported from Tesla’s Shanghai factory since late 2021, but a recent media round in Hong Kong officially confirmed the specification changes for all variants to add to its successful EV formula.
This is in addition to upgrades including the more powerful AMD Ryzen processor and longer taillight bulbs that are already found in new Model 3s today.
Unlike traditional automakers, Tesla makes continuous hardware adjustments – at any time and often without notice – that don’t follow typical model years, alongside pushing over-the-air software updates.
The Model Y is expected to launch in Australia later this year or in 2023 due to industry-wide semiconductor, battery and parts supply constraints. When it does arrive, it’ll be sourced from the Shanghai factory like the Model 3 sedan on which it’s based on.
It seems the fledgling electric carmaker is preparing for an imminent Australian launch, though.
Chasing Cars recently leaked the Model Ys price for “corporate and industry customers”, with the base rear-wheel drive variant starting from $67,990 before on-road costs and state incentives and the top-spec Performance from $98,172. We've calculated the driveaway pricing (after incentives) for both variants here.
Notably absent is the coveted mid-spec Long Range variant, suggesting it may not land in Australia at launch. For reference, China and Hong Kong markets sell all three guises, while the United Kingdom and Europe only offer Long Range and Performance models.
Read the full rundown on what to expect for the Model Y in Australia here.
Tesla has also been testing its online ordering system, with some users reporting Model Y reservations were shortly opened for Australians with what seems to be outdated pricing (above) before pulling it down.
When Tesla’s small electric SUV does land, it’ll compete in a highly contested segment – including the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hyundai Kona Electric, Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge, Polestar 2, BYD Atto 3, and the forthcoming Renault Megane E-Tech and Volkswagen ID.4 due in 2023.
Given the Tesla Model 3 sedan is already the best selling EV in Australia by a sizeable margin, the Model Y in trendy SUV form is poised to sell in even larger numbers Down Under. But, it’ll depend on supply with current Model 3 order delivery times stretching up to nine months after a price increase.
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