2021 Tesla Model Y electric SUV revealed: price, specs and release date

While you wouldn't call it cheap, the new Tesla Model Y is the most affordable Tesla SUV yet has a range of up to 336 miles...

Tesla Model Y front
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Steve Huntingford
15 Mar 2019 03:40

On sale Late 2021 Price from £52,000 (est)

With the reveal of the new Tesla Model Y, the electric vehicle maker is close to realising another ambition of its owner, Elon Musk: to literally have a SEXY range of cars.

Due on sale in the UK in late 2021, the Model Y is a mid-sized SUV that joins the Model S luxury car, the Model 3 executive saloon (which has a badge that’s styled to be mistakable for an E and would have used this letter had Ford not already trademarked Model E) and the larger Model X SUV.

Two versions of the Model Y are likely to be offered here initially: the Long Range, which is capable of around 300 miles between charges on America's official EPA test cycle, and the more powerful and expensive Performance, which still manages 280 miles.

Tesla estimates that this would translate to 336 miles and 314 miles respectively in Europe's WLTP test, figures that compare favourably with the 292 miles that the Jaguar I-Pace manages and the 282 miles of the upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron.

A 15-minute charge at one of Tesla’s third-generation Superchargers is enough for 168 miles of range. And the Model Y delivers the impressive performance we’ve come to expect from the brand's cars, with the Long Range getting from 0-60mph in 5.5sec and the Performance taking just 3.5sec – about the same as the new Porsche 911.

Tesla Model Y side

Indeed, thanks to its batteries being positioned beneath the floor, giving a low centre of gravity, Musk claims that the Model Y will have "the functionality of an SUV but the ride of a sports car, being really tight in corners".

In the US, Tesla is also offering an entry-level Model Y that’s capable of 230 miles on the EPA cycle (or 298 miles on WLTP) and 0-60mph in 5.9sec, but this is unlikely to come to the UK to start with.

All versions feature a panoramic glass roof and a massive 15.0in touchscreen, through which almost everything is controlled. And although the Model Y has frameless, conventionally opening rear doors instead of the gullwings found on the more expensive Model X, it's still available with seven seats.

Tesla Model Y interior

The dashboard design is pretty much identical to that of the Model 3, meaning it's incredibly minimalist, while the exterior blends the closed front end of the Model 3 with a profile that's more reminiscent of the Model X.

Tesla sold more than 120,000 examples of the Model 3 last year, making it the world’s best-selling electric car. And given the popularity of SUVs, demand for the Model Y could well be even higher.

In the US, the Model Y Long Range costs $47,000 and the Performance $60,000. However, UK prices are likely to be significantly higher, at around £52,000 and £60,000 respectively.

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See how the Model S and Model X performed in What Car?'s Real Range test >

Other electric cars worth considering

Electric cars are coming of age, with them finally having the range, practicality and choice of models to make them worthy of serious consideration. Here we take a look at everything that's on sale now or coming soon.

Audi E-tron

On sale Early 2019 Price from £71,000 (est)

In terms of size, this new electric luxury SUV slots in between the conventional Q5 and Q7 in Audi’s line-up, although it rides lower to the ground than both.

In a first for production cars, buyers can opt to replace the conventional door mirrors with cameras that feed rear-view images on to small screens inside; the more compact cameras help to make the E-trom more aerodynamic. Meanwhile, other features designed to help it slip through the air include special 19in wheels and a smooth underside.

The E-tron is powered by two electric motors – one on each axle, making the car four-wheel drive. Those produce a combined 402bhp, allowing it to cover the 0-62mph sprint in less than six seconds and go on to a top speed of 124mph.

The latest WLTP tests give the E-tron a range of 249 miles on a single charge – similar to that of the Mercedes EQC but down on the Jaguar I-Pace’s 292-mile official range. Air suspension comes as standard, promising a comfortable ride. Plus, it allows the car to rise by up to 50mm for extra ground clearance when off-roading.

If you’re recharging the E-tron at home, expect a full charge to take about eight and a half hours, or that can be halved by using an optional high-capacity charger. When using the fastest chargers available (150kW), the E-tron can be charged up to 80% in about half an hour.

The E-tron is expected to cost about £71,000, with the Government’s £4500 electric car grant taking that down to £66,500. That means the E-tron will be slightly more expensive than both the I-Pace (£63,495) and EQC (an estimated £60,000).

Next: Mini Electric >