Tesla opens up orders for its long-awaited Model Y SUV, but production won't begin for a while

  • Tesla unveiled its newest vehicle, the Model Y SUV, on Thursday.
  • Production of the more premium Model Y models will begin in 2020. The standard version, which will begin pricing at $US39,000 before incentives, will go into production in 2021.
  • The unveiling comes at a time when Tesla is facing mounting financial pressure and, according to some analysts, a demand problem.

Tesla fans can now place an order for the company’s long-awaited Model Y SUV, at least for the premium versions. But they will have to wait a while before they get their cars.

Tesla opened up orders for the long range and performance versions of the Model Y on Thursday evening after CEO Elon Musk unveiled the vehicle at an event at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California.

The long-range rear-wheel drive version begins pricing at $US47,000 before incentives and has a range of 300 miles per charge.

The dual-motor all-wheel drive will have a range of 280 miles per charge and begins pricing at $US51,000 before incentives. The Performance model will also have a range of 280 miles, but will begin pricing at $US60,000.

According to Tesla’s website, the company plans to begin manufacturing these three versions late next year. But customers can place an order now on the company’s website for a deposit of $US2,500.

Those looking to order the standard version of Tesla’s Model Y will have to wait even longer for their SUV.

According to Tesla’s website, the Model Y standard range version of the vehicle will begin production in 2021. Customers cannot yet place an order for this version of the vehicle.

The standard Model Y version will have a range of 230 miles per charge, a top speed of 120 miles per hour, and begin pricing at $US39,000. The SUV will also be able to go from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, Tesla says.

The Model Y SUV will seat five people, but two seats can be added for an additional cost.

Tesla’s unveiling of the Model Y comes at a time when the company is facing mounting financial pressure and, according to some analysts, a demand problem.

In late February, Tesla announced it was closing most of its stores and moving to an online sales model. At the time, the company said the move would enable it to slash the prices for all of its cars by several per cent and roll out the long-promised $US35,000 Model 3 sooner than expected.

About a week later, though, Tesla backtracked and said that it would actually keep more stores open and increase the price of its vehicles back to their previous amount.

“In the US, we think the amount of information points to declines in demand for Tesla’s higher priced vehicle variants following the start of the phase-out of the Federal Tax credit; and we believe moves by the company to continue to improve its cost structure in order to deliver lower priced vehicles and tap remaining consumer demand corroborate this,” Goldman Sachs said to clients in a note earlier this week.

What’s more, Goldman analysts said there is also the worry that the reveal of the Model Y could put further pressure on the Model 3 sales because people may opt to wait to purchase the SUV instead of opting for the lower-cost sedan.

Musk, though, did not seem that worried about demand at the event.

“I think it’s really compelling. I’m confident that of any mid-sized SUV, it will be the one you want,” Musk said.

“I think it will probably sell, probably do more Model Ys than (Model) S, (Model) X, (Model) 3 combined, most likely,” Musk said at the event.

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