The Model Y era is upon us. Tesla is expected to start delivery of its electric crossover SUV this month.
While the Model 3 was a bit of a rollercoaster roll out, the Model Y program is expected to be much smoother. The earliest production Model Ys have been spotted staged at Tesla’s factory and loaded on delivery trucks. They’ll soon fill the streets as fast as Tesla can build them. The vehicle is destined to be Tesla’s biggest hit to date.
“I’m confident that it’ll be – of any midsize SUV – it’ll be the one you want,” Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said during the Model Y presentation last year. “I think we’ll probably do more Model Ys than S, X, and 3 combined, most likely.”
Crossovers make up nearly half of the car market these days, so the Model Y is Tesla’s first vehicle catering to that demand. While there are other electric crossovers on the market, it seems the Model Y will immediately become the best choice. It has the seating, cargo space, versatility, range, and technology that consumers seek.
Tesla has sold more electric cars than any other carmaker and attracted praise for performance and safety from industry watchers and owners alike. You can expect those learnings, particularly from the Model 3, to result in the company’s finest product to date.
So, who can challenge the Model Y?
The two most notable electric crossovers to date have been the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-PACE. They hit a sweet spot – luxury brand, electric, SUV. But, the automakers have not had quick success. In fact, production of both vehicles was recently paused due to bottlenecks in battery supply.
Bloomberg reported that Audi sold roughly 26,400 e-trons last year. Audi of America reported 5,369 in e-tron sales in 2019. Only about 18,000 I-Paces were sold in 2019.
The cars are expensive – north of $70,000 – so few consumers are shopping for cars in that price range. Still, it doesn’t seem the vehicles have stirred up much excitement from the luxury consumers.
The most compelling competitor to the Model Y seems to be Ford’s Mach-E.
The iconic automobile brand is betting the Mustang nameplate on its first electric offering. The crossover packs similar pricing, acceleration, range, and cargo capacity as the Model Y, making it worth a look for shoppers. It’s a name they know. Those who were leery of electrification before could find comfort in a trusted brand like Ford. Also, Mustangs have been consistently cool for more than half a century.
The Mustang Mach-E will be available with standard and extended-range battery options with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive powered by permanent magnet motors. Equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive, Mach-E has a targeted EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles. In extended-range all-wheel-drive configurations, Mach-E is targeting 332 horsepower. The standard all-wheel-drive variation will have quicker times to 60 mph than the base Porsche Macan, Ford said.
Mustang Mach-E will start at $44,995 and range up to over $60,000. Consumers seem curious.
A recent survey by Autolist asked which vehicle shoppers fancied most between the Model Y and the Mach-E. Interestingly, 51% preferred the Ford.
The top five most common answers by consumers who choose the Ford Mustang Mach-E were:
- Prefer/trust Ford more
- The Mach-E’s exterior styling
- Ford’s established dealer and service network
- The Mach-E’s expected reliability
- Concerns about Tesla’s future
The top five most common answers by consumers who said they’d choose the Tesla Model Y were:
- Prefer/trust Tesla more
- Expected reliability
- The Model Y’s expected performance
- Tesla’s Supercharging network
- Dislike of the Ford brand
Ford has said they will produce 50,000 units of the Mustang Mach-E for the first year and the appetite seems strong. The company said in December that it had sold out of a limited “First Edition” that comes with extended-range all-wheel drive, red painted brake calipers, metallic pedal covers, contrasting seat stitching and a scuff plate marked First Edition.
Tesla has not released information around Model Y reservation numbers, but says combined Model 3 and Model Y production capacity is currently at an annual rate of 400,000 units. It will be interesting to see how quickly the Model Y takes share of total Tesla vehicles produced.
Likewise, it will be interesting to see if demand for the the Mach-E will spur the electrification of Ford’s vehicles. Ford expects electrified powertrains to account for more than half of the company’s passenger vehicle sales by the end of 2022.
There will certainly be other challengers to the Model Y and Tesla’s other offerings. The auto industry is swiftly moving to electric power, so electric versions of the most popular vehicles will soon be available to consumers. There will be other exciting startups and surprises. I mean, who could have guessed Ford would electrify an SUV Mustang.
Still, with Tesla’s expertise and infrastructure, Model Y stands to be the vehicle other automakers will be trying to catch for a few years.