Tonight, Tesla will unveil its latest car, the Model Y. In what's widely expected to be a smaller, less expensive SUV than the Model X, the Model Y has already been teased — first with a shadowy rendering in mid-2018, then more recently with an outline of its upper half. The livestream kicks off at 8 p.m. Pacific time, and if the Model 3's unveiling was any indication (Tesla unveiled the car itself some 19 minutes in), we should see the Model Y in short order.
The Model Y is crucial for Tesla. A analysis in late 2018 found SUVs outsold cars by a staggering 43.1 percent, yet Tesla has just one example in the pricey Model X. Still, the automaker's bestselling car is a sedan: the new Model 3. Despite not being an SUV, it's the industry's best-selling luxury nameplate through the first two months of 2019 by a mile, per Automotive News estimates — and that's after federal tax credits for all Tesla models fell by half.
Like Tesla's other models, the Model Y will be all-electric. Expected to ride a Model 3 platform, it could also share the sedan's batteries and electric motors. In the Model 3, such hardware enables range from 220 miles to 325 miles and zero-to-60-mph acceleration from 5.6 seconds down to a blistering 3.2 seconds. Given the larger Model X sees slight reductions in range and acceleration versus the Model S with which it shares a platform, we'd expect Tesla to report Model Y capabilities as similar to, but not quite on par with, the Model 3.
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Tonight's unveiling comes amid a season of controversy for the automaker. After a series of losses, the automaker ended 2018 with two consecutive quarters of profit. But the year also saw Tesla agree to pay a $40 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud charges and failures to control CEO Elon Musk's usage of social media, particularly with a misleading tweet that he'd secured funding to take Tesla private. Consumer Reports, citing owner surveys, ranked Tesla among the least reliable brands in 2018, a year after it called out the Model X as the least reliable new car on the market. Tesla, meanwhile, blasted the magazine's 2017 survey as "lack[ing] basic scientific integrity." (Dayum!)
Model Y— Tesla (@Tesla) March 14, 2019
Thurs 8pm PDThttps://t.co/9GmXGxH0HX
What's in store for the Model Y? Watch Tesla's feed tonight, and check back on tomorrow for our take on everything Model Y.
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