Tesla Unveils the Model Y, Its New SUV, Amid Mounting Challenges

Speaking on Thursday at an event at the company’s design center in Hawthorne, Calif., Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, touted the new vehicle’s …

Various versions will be produced in North America, Europe and China, Tesla said. A long range version will be able to drive 300 miles on a single charge, it said, while the $60,000 Performance model will have a top speed of 150 miles per hour. The new vehicle will be available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, the Netherlands and a number of other European countries.

The Model Y unveiling comes as Tesla confronts sales challenges in Europe and China, markets it has been counting on for expansion.

The company has also faced some operational uncertainty. Two weeks ago, Mr. Musk announced that Tesla would begin selling a long-awaited version of its Model 3 sedan priced at $35,000, $8,000 less than the cheapest current version. But he said Tesla would lose money in the first quarter, and analysts question whether Tesla can ever make money on the car at the lower price.

Tesla originally said customers would have to wait two to four weeks for delivery of the $35,000 Model 3. It now says the wait is six to eight weeks.

Sales of Tesla’s other models, the Model S luxury sedan and Model X sport-utility vehicle, have been flattening. And analysts suspect that demand for Tesla vehicles has softened since the beginning of the year, when the federal tax credit available to Tesla customers fell by half, raising the total cost for buyers. Until the end of 2018, Tesla buyers were eligible for a credit of $7,500. That fell to $3,850 on Jan. 1, essentially raising the price of Tesla cars.

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Model Y Not? Elon Musk Rolls the Dice Unveiling Risky New Tesla SUV

Maybe I’m just a stickler for being on time, but when everyone is suggesting your CEO, Elon Musk, doesn’t run a tight ship and you make only a …

If you are launching an SUV to prove to everyone you’re not as chaotic a company as the media makes out, then start on time.

The Tesla Model Y launch live stream was delayed. As I sat waiting all I could think was here we go again. Maybe I’m just a stickler for being on time, but when everyone is suggesting your CEO, Elon Musk, doesn’t run a tight ship and you make only a handful of unveilings a year, start on time. After 15 minutes the screen went black, and rather than increase my excitement I was just annoyed. It then told me to stay tuned. After 20 odd minutes, it began.

Tesla Will Be On Mars In 10 Years and Kazakhstan Will Have Superchargers (maybe)

First, there was an advert for Tesla generally. Then Musk came out to give a monologue about the origins of Tesla in his unique stuttering, off the cuff, style while they showcased the product line, starting with their first ever car (serial number 01) and working through the different models.

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Two awkward jokes about making a model E (ultimately 3) to go between the model S and X and the word Semi and we were finally ready to see the car. Or so I thought, there was a bit more blurb to go and a jovial musk was clearly in a good mood having made it through a tough 2018 and was enjoying his time on stage. Hot off the press: Tesla will build superchargers in Kazakhstan, and a Tesla could be driving on Mars in 10 years. You didn’t come for that info, but there you go.

No Surprises In Unveiling Of Practical Model Y

Some told you so quotes from naysayers in the past and here comes the Y. Oh my. It’s a model 3 utilizing the ugliest parts of the X. Probably a brilliant car functionally, however, and it makes sense they would reuse all the components in the other vehicles to makeshift an SUV in a limited time-frame. You can’t help but think it looks like a bit of a rush job though. The Y isn’t a ground-breaking car; it’s a necessary push into the mainstream. A cash cow if you will. All of a sudden Musk disappeared into the night, and it was over. No surprises or Easter eggs this time.

Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, and Bentley are all companies you wouldn’t expect to make an SUV, and yet they do. The market just told them they should make one, and here comes Tesla to join them. I can’t help but feel like it’s a mistake, but time will tell. Existing Tesla owners will probably be worried about the company biting off another considerable chunk of car production to chew at a fiscally tight time for the company.

Elon Musk Tesla Model YElon Musk Tesla Model Y

Is Elon Musk stretching Tesla too thin with his Model Y? | Source: Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

Tesla and Musk Are Facing A Firestorm Of Legal Suits and Criticism

If Tesla isn’t in chaos, then it must be close. The staggeringly loose management style of Musk has been attracting a lot of attention lately, as he faces a sea of legal troubles. Lawsuits from both shareholders and a case filed against him by the SEC take aim at Musk’s tweeting as CEO. Next, take a look at the economy-drive which has seen Tesla close stores, then re-open them, cut prices and then hike them again. Its a wild time for Tesla fans.

Sheer Number of Model 3s Already Causing Some Customer Service Problems

I was curious to see whether the chaos is an illusion or a reality, so I contacted my friend who had just taken delivery of his Model 3 Performance. I know one person isn’t a significant sample size but what he has to say is pretty damning. Firstly, he had been given free supercharging for six months, but Tesla was still billing him. Efforts to contact Customer Service, with numerous emails and texts have been in vain, and he is still receiving charges (no pun intended), and thinks the handling of his case is shocking (pun intended). He also has a problem with the seat-belt on the driver’s side. A Tesla representative eventually got back to him regarding this issue, said it would be three weeks to get the replacement part, then went silent.

It seems he is not alone, as an acquaintance who also drives a model 3 told him there is a three-month wait to replace a damaged front bumper. If ever there was a stark reminder of just how young Tesla is as a company, this is it. A quick search on Twitter, and there is even an account dedicated to one mans struggle to get his car fixed.

This is what the Tesla ownership experience feels like! #tesla@elonmusk@Teslapic.twitter.com/47q6tOoaTc

— My Tesla Is Broken (@BrokenTesla) June 2, 2018

“Start-Up Back-Office Culture”

My contact struggling with his model 3 is a CFO with experience both in tech start-ups and established companies.While he loves his Tesla and thinks the product and the engineering are world-beating, he thinks the “back-office” culture (customer service) is closer to a startup than a $50 billion behemoth. He believes this possibly comes from the light-speed development plan which has neglected the less “sexy” parts of running a car business.

Can Tesla and Its Overworked Factories Handle Another Mass-Produced Car?

So if Musk’s Tesla hasn’t matured enough to handle a three-car product line, why pump out the Model Y in Fall 2020. The new roadster is coming after this. Don’t even get me started on when the semi-trucks (which look incredible by the way and will make roads so much safer if they work) are coming. Musk said 2019 a while back but surprise, surprise, that was a bit ambitious.

What bugs me about the Y’s launch is it feels like Donald Trump’s second North Korean meeting all over again. Musk is trying to suck all the oxygen from the negative coverage and manufacture a good headline. Namely the news of Tesla entering the most lucrative, popular and competitive segment of US auto-sales. One has to question if Tesla has the infrastructure to provide adequate service to another fleet of owners. I hope this launch is not just a testosterone-fueled response to recent criticism, because the Y is unquestionably a risk.

Tesla Model Y: Tesla Fans on Twitter Fawn Over Elon Musk’s Electric SUV

Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Model Y, his new mass market SUV, in a late night press event at the Tesla Design Studio on Thursday night, alongside …

Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Model Y, his new mass market SUV, in a late night press event at the Tesla Design Studio on Thursday night, alongside the rest of the Tesla oeuvre.

The minute the livestream ended, a pre-order screen popped up and Twitter soon flooded with boasts from successful customers who were able to make their orders, despite the fact that the lowest priced, $39,000 variant isn’t said to ship until some time in the spring 2020, according to the announcement.

Several of the customers seemed a little puzzled, however, by the order complete page, which featured a hedgehog saying “haha yes” beneath the confirmation number (Musk also tweeted the same image yesterday in a teaser, along with the caption “S3XY”).

So, I ordered the Tesla Model Y and got this confirmation page. Not sure what to make of it — especially the “haha” part. pic.twitter.com/BGhcT9GlXH

— Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh) March 15, 2019

Went all-in on a Model Y Performance. I did stuck on the color choice for a few minutes😅. This is not a reservation like ever before, it is actually an order with $2,500 deposit thru design studio. @Model3Owners@DMC_Ryan@teslabros@TeslaPodcast@Teslapic.twitter.com/Ndytjomiab

— Steve S. (@stevegshi) March 15, 2019

At least one Tesla customer was undaunted by the two year wait time for the $39,000 variant, who wrote that the time “will fly by.”

Just placed my #TeslaModelY order. 2 years will fly by and we will have a great SUV, fully electric. Thanks @elonmusk@Teslapic.twitter.com/QDSmUiQvKJ

— Tenzin Nyima (@bhuten) March 15, 2019

As you might expect from a crowd that waited up until around midnight to watch a car unveiling, most of the reactions were pretty effusive, but there were still a few skeptics, mainly about the Model X’s size. Is it really fair to call a car an SUV when it’s so close in size to the sedan-like Model 3? Some reporters took to referring to it as a “Small SUV.”

Tesla unveils the Model Y….. the small SUV comes late next year with prices ranging from $39,000 – $60,000 pic.twitter.com/uRpVfkzDz8

— Phil LeBeau (@Lebeaucarnews) March 15, 2019

There was also a fair bit of light ribbing in the build-up to the event, which began “on Elon time” — i.e., about 20 minutes late — and featured a somewhat sentimental rundown of Tesla’s history: “There was a time when electric cars seemed very stupid,” Musk said during the presentation.

Waiting for the Tesla Model Y event to start… pic.twitter.com/4OQ2SHPvB1

— Tameem Ji (@TameemJi) March 15, 2019

But in all fairness, the stakes for the Model Y couldn’t be higher. Musk’s company expects the Model Y to outsell both the Model 3 and the Model X combined. By about this time next year, Musk said at the unveiling, Tesla should have sold its millionth car, about double the 550,000 cars it has sold so far.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk Unveils ‘Model Y’ All-Electric SUV

“It has the functionality of an SUV, but it will ride like a sports car,” CEO Elon Musk told the crowd. “This thing will be really tight on corners and we …

HAWTHORNE (AP) — Tesla unveiled a new all-electric SUV on Thursday night that the automaker hopes will win over consumers looking for an all-electric alternative in the most popular segment of the auto market.

Cheers from a hangar-packed crowd of Tesla customers, employees and members of the media welcomed a blue Model Y as it rolled out onto a stage next to the automaker’s other models.

“It has the functionality of an SUV, but it will ride like a sports car,” CEO Elon Musk told the crowd. “This thing will be really tight on corners and we expect it will be the safest midsize SUV in the world by far.”

The Model Y seats seven and has a panoramic glass roof and a 15-inch touchscreen interface for accessing all the car’s controls.

The all-electric, mid-size SUV will start at $39,000 for the standard range version, which the company said can go 230 miles on a single charge. The long-range model, which starts at $47,000, has a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge — less range than the Model 3.

A dual-motor, all-wheel drive version of the Model Y starts at $51,000 while the performance version of the car, which boasts acceleration of 0-60 mph in as little as 3.5 seconds and a top speed of up to 150 mph, starts at $60,000.

The Model Y may be Tesla’s most important product yet as it attempts to expand into the mainstream and generate enough cash to repay massive debts that threaten to topple the Palo Alto, California, company.

Tesla got a huge boost toward ensuring its survival with the 2017 debut of its Model 3 sedan, but an SUV could have even more mass appeal, given how popular SUVs have become in the U.S., Europe and Canada.

The U.S. market share for SUVs, crossovers, vans and pickup trucks stood at 69 percent in January, up from just 48.5 percent a decade ago, according to the research firm IHS Markit.

But most SUVs still run on gasoline, leaving Tesla to cater to consumers looking for an all-electric alternative. The Model Y’s main competition in this still-nascent market is likely to be the Mercedes-Benz EQC, and to a lesser extent, the Jaguar I-Pace, according to the research firm LMC Automotive.

“This could be Tesla’s most profitable vehicle, with the giant asterisk that the company doesn’t do some of the dumb things it has in the past,” said Gartner analyst Mike Ramsey.

Many of Tesla’s past follies have been tied to Musk’s penchants for making grandiose promises that the company hasn’t been able to keep in terms of production, delivery and execution.

Production of the Model 3 quickly fell behind schedule as Tesla struggled to come up with adequate manufacturing capacity and it took much longer than anticipated to lower the sedan’s starting price to the $35,000 level that Musk had been promoting. Instead, the lowest priced version of the Model 3 had been selling for $43,000 until a couple weeks ago when Tesla reached the promised price point by laying off thousands of workers and imposing other cost-cutting measures.

Overseeing the ramp-up of Model 3’s production nearly drove Musk to exhaustion last year, a factor that may have contributed to a mystifying pattern of behavior that included tweeting about having lined up the financing for a potential buyout of Tesla. That misleading statement jeopardized his job and resulted in a $40 million settlement with stock market regulators.

Tesla expects to deliver the performance, long range, rear-wheel drive and dual-motor, all-wheel drive versions of the Model Y in the fall of 2020. The standard version of the Model Y is expected to roll out in the spring of 2021.

As with all electric vehicles, the distance that the Model Y can cover on a fully charged battery is likely to be one of its key selling points — or downsides. Tesla pegged the Model Y’s range at up to 300 miles compared to 325 miles for the Model 3.

Tesla is hoping there will pent-up demand for the Model Y, nearly four years after Musk first began touting the company’s plans to make an SUV. Bringing in early down payments for the vehicles would help Tesla generate the cash it needs to repay nearly $1.7 billion in loans that come due within the next 16 months.

The company began the year with about $11 billion in debt and $3.7 billion in cash, but those figures presumably fell recently when it repaid about $920 million in bonds.

Another $566 million in notes are scheduled to be repaid this November followed a $1.1 billion credit line in June 2020.

Consumers who plop down their deposits for the Model Y may have to cross their fingers for their vehicles to be delivered on schedule.

Tesla’s recurring production and delivery problems have resulted in consumers having to wait longer than they were originally told. Musk now says Tesla has worked out those issues.

Ramsey, though, remains skeptical about whether the company will have adequate manufacturing capacity for the Model Y. He expects the Model Y’s journey to the mass market to provide another wild ride for the company, its investors and customers.

“Until Elon is gone, Tesla is going to be a crazy company that occasionally makes breathtaking products,” Ramsey predicted.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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Elon Musk’s Model Y SUV Brings More Tesla to More Masses

The Model Y is here, and Elon Musk has once again shown why Tesla may be the most exciting car company on the planet—seemingly never-ending …

The Model Y is here, and Elon Musk has once again shown why Tesla may be the most exciting car company on the planet—seemingly never-ending crises and controversies notwithstanding.

From the stage at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, California, Musk unveiled the baby SUV, which shares about three-quarters of its parts with the Model 3 sedan. But it’s a bit bigger, with three rows and room for seven passengers. You can now preorder the car via Tesla’s website, if you put down $2,500.

Tesla plans to release the Model Y in four flavors. The “Performance” version, due out in fall 2020, will go from 0 to 60 mph in a blistery 3.5 seconds, and offer 280 miles of range for a cool $60,000. The Dual Motor AWD, also slated for fall 2020, should do 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds, hit a 135 mph top speed, and travel up to 280 miles on one charge for $51,000. Tesla promises the “Long Range” version, also due fall 2020, will have 300 miles of range, hit 130 mph, and clock in a 5.5-second 0 to 60 sprint for $47,000. Finally: the $39,000 “Standard Range” version, slated to arrive in spring 2021, should reach 230 miles on a charge and will have a top speed of 120 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 5.9 seconds. An important reminder, with regard to those dates: Tesla rarely hits its own deadlines, and has on multiple occasions delivered cars months or even years behind schedule.

When Musk took the stage Thursday—dressed in all black, with custom Tesla-branded Nike sneakers—he started off talking history. “There was a time when electric cars seemed very stupid,” he said. He brought out Tesla’s past autos, one by one: the two-seat Roadster, the Model S sedan, the Model X SUV, and the Model 3. Plus, some cars-to-be: the new Roadster and the Semi, both of which Tesla says will go into production next year. Musk talked about how Tesla built a factory in Fremont, California, and a battery “Gigafactory” outside Reno, Nevada, and the under-construction factory in Shanghai.

Musk harped on the difficulty of mass manufacturing cars, saying they’ve proved 100 times harder to build than design. “2018 felt like aging five years in one,” he told the audience. “Honestly, it was really intense.” It’s not the first time he’s acknowledged the how arduous the process is. He warned that building the Model 3 would be “production hell.” Reports from inside Tesla suggest he was right. But Musk also noted that in about a year’s time, Tesla will have produced a million vehicles.

The Model Y comes at an interesting moment for Tesla. After a year of upheaval, Muskian Twitter flame wars, and lawsuits, Model 3 production is finally going smoothly, and the automaker posted profits in the third and fourth quarters of 2018—its first such repeat performance. Last month, Musk announced Tesla would finally start selling a $35,000 version of the Model 3, a milestone price point he had promised for years.

But along with the rest of the industry, Tesla is facing a tightening market now, and Musk has said he doesn’t expect the company to be profitable in the first quarter of this year. To offer that $35,000 Model 3, Tesla had to cut costs, and announced it would close most of its stores and move its sales model entirely online. Then, earlier this week, it walked that back, saying it would keep more stores open, but raise prices on all its cars by about 3 percent on average (but still offer that baseline $35,000 Model 3).

What’s exciting about the Model Y, from Tesla’s perspective, is that it’s positioned to push the automaker much further into the mass market. SUVs, you see, are mega-popular—the fastest growing vehicle segment in the US. So much so that Ford and General Motors have given up on the idea of selling regular cars to Americans. “We’ll probably do more Y than S, X, and 3 [sales] combined,” Musk said.

And because the Model Y is relatively inexpensive, it could reach the vast swaths of the market that can’t afford a luxury car, are interested in electric, and want something roomier than a sedan. “The Model Y represents Tesla’s biggest opportunity yet. Its price and body style should resonate with the majority of today’s car buyers,” says Karl Brauer, an industry analyst with Kelley Blue Book. “This also makes the Model Y the most important vehicle in Tesla’s history.”

Meanwhile, though, prodded by regulators around the world, the rest of the auto industry has started to buy into this whole electric power thing. And they’re coming with SUVs: Audi’s E-tron and Jaguar’s i-Pace are already on the market. Porsche, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Mercedes are preparing similar offerings. Newcomers like Rivian and Byton are jumping in. Tesla has been selling those million cars at a time when there were few other compelling electric options. Now it’s got to win buyers not just to battery power, but to Tesla specifically.

Referring to his not quite subtle naming of his cars the Model S, 3, X, and Y, Musk said, “We are bringing sexy back, quite literally.” But like anyone inching toward full adulthood, Tesla is starting to rely less on sex appeal, and more on wisdom and experience.

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