Tesla Model Y test ride: first impressions of Tesla’s latest 7-seat SUV (VIDEO)

Tesla has unveiled the Model Y, a seven-seater, 300-mile, all-electric SUV that is expected to be even more popular than the Model 3. Similar to the Model 3 unveiling, Tesla offered test rides in the Model Y after the event. Teslarati was able to acquire a slot for the SUV’s test rides.

Here’s how the test ride went.

Elon Musk has already stated that the SUV shares around 75% of its components with the electric sedan. From the exterior to the interior of the Model Y, it is evident that the vehicle is derived from its sedan sibling. The exterior is pretty much a bulkier version of the Model 3, while the interior shares the 3’s sleek dashboard that’s dominated by a 15″ touchscreen. The vehicle is pretty roomy too, as the test driver was around 6’2″ and there was ample headroom.

A look at the rear of the vehicle shows some classic Tesla cues. The second-row seats could seat three, and similar to Tesla’s other electric cars, there is ample legroom. The third-row seats, which can accommodate two, were folded down during the test drive. It remains to be seen how comfortable the third-row seats would be for adults, though considering the space on the vehicle, the last row could prove to be a pretty tight fit. Perhaps the Model Y’s third-row seats could serve a similar purpose as the Model S’ rear-facing jump seats, which are optimized for children.

The ride itself is very characteristic of Tesla, being quiet and smooth. The car seems to handle just like the Model 3, as it was nimble and responsive to the driver’s input. The iconic Tesla acceleration was there, thanks to the test unit’s dual motor AWD configuration. There was also very little body roll despite some spirited driving maneuvers. Based on how the Model Y handled imperfections on the road, the vehicle seemed like it was equipped with coil springs, similar to the Model 3.

Particularly notable is how well the Panoramic glass roof worked with the Model Y’s SUV form factor, allowing a full, unobstructed view of the sky. It should be noted that the glass roof does not have a center cross member such as the one found in the Model 3, effectively making the Model Y’s glass roof arguably the most stunning in Tesla’s lineup. Teslarati was told that this would make it to production.

Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen addresses The crowd at the Model Y event. (Photo: Gene Liu/Teslarati)

The Model Y was pretty much what the Tesla community expected. It might not have too many bells and whistles (the glass roof is amazing though) but it represents a notable balance between features and practicality. Tesla would likely not run into production issues with the Model Y, thanks to its similarities with the Model 3 and the lessons the company learned from its past production ramps. At this point in Tesla’s history, the Model Y is a perfect vehicle to release, as it is reasonably-priced, and perhaps most importantly, not too difficult to produce.

The Model Y comes in four variants: the Standard Range, Long Range, Dual Motor AWD, and Performance versions. The Standard Range version is capable of going 230 miles on one charge, while the Long Range version goes 300 miles per charge. Both the Dual Motor AWD and Performance Model Y get 280 miles between charges. (Click here for more details on teh Model Y)

The Model Y will enter production in Fall 2020, with Tesla producing the Standard Range version in Spring 2021. The Model Y starts at $39,000 for the Standard Range version and $47,000 for the Long Range variant. The Dual Motor AWD costs $51,000, and a Performance version will be priced at $60,000.

Watch Teslarati‘s test ride in the Model Y in the video below.

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Tesla Model Y test ride: first impressions of Tesla’s latest 7-seat SUV (VIDEO)

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Faraday Future selling land purchased for proposed Nevada plant

Faraday Future only a few short years ago planned to spend $1 billion to build a sprawling high-tech facility north of Las Vegas to churn out its electric cars.

However a cash crunch in late 2016 meant the Chinese-backed, Californian EV startup had to scale back its plans, including abandoning the construction of the North Las Vegas plant in favor of leasing a former tire plant in Hanford, California.

Faraday Future on Wednesday finally announced that it is seeking a buyer for the North Las Vegas site. The automaker had until now hoped to retain the site for a second, larger plant to join the Hanford plant as volumes rose.

The company said in a statement that the sale is part of a restructuring that includes reducing non-core assets.

The restructuring comes after Faraday Future in January reached a new agreement with key investor Evergrande Group, an agreement that is expected to speed up its equity and debt financing efforts.

The company also said in its statement Wednesday that it will need to raise “substantial” capital in 2019 to get its first model, the FF91 crossover SUV, into production and to continue work on a follow-up FF81 crossover, meaning production of the FF91 at the Hanford site likely won’t start in the first half of 2019 as previously announced.

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Tonight’s Tesla Model Y unveiling could come with another Elon Musk surprise

Tesla’s Model Y unveiling is upon us, and expectations among the fan community are high that the company could pull off another “one more thing” twist. Tesla has done something similar in the past, taking the wraps off the next-generation Roadster after the Tesla Semi’s unveiling. This time around, will the company have another surprise in store?

We conducted a poll on Twitter to gauge the pulse of the Tesla community with regards to a potential surprise at the end of the Model Y event. It appears that sentiments are pointing towards a possible Model S and Model X update or a Tesla Pickup truck reveal. We have to admit, these two options have pretty solid arguments behind them.

Tesla Pickup Truck

Elon Musk has mentioned the Tesla pickup truck during the Tesla Semi’s unveiling, and during that time, it seemed like the vehicle would still be a few years away. With the electric pickup market getting hotter by the week thanks to upcoming vehicles like the Rivian R1T and an upcoming all-electric Ford F-150, it will be wise for Tesla to expedite the release of its own truck. Such a vehicle will likely make big waves in the United States, thanks to the popularity of trucks in the country.

Elon Musk has stated that the pickup will be futuristic and not look out of place in the set of sci-fi movies like Blade Runner. Musk has also hinted at some of the truck’s features, such as 400-500 miles of range per charge, dual motor AWD, a 240-volt connection for heavy-duty tools, and up to 300,000 pounds (yes, that’s 300 thousand) of towing capacity, to name a few.

Model S and Model X update

The Model S and Model X are among the best electric cars available in the market today, though both vehicles are getting a bit long in the tooth. The Model S still uses the same design theme that Tesla debuted in June 2012. That’s more than six years ago.

Speculations among the Tesla community point to a possible updated interior that follows the theme of the Model 3, as well as slight design cues that update the look of the flagship sedan and SUV. This is, of course, speculation, but a potential range boost to around 400 miles per charge will also make the vehicles more attractive to buyers. These improvements could better establish the Model S and Model X as electric cars that are a cut above the Model 3 and Model Y.

Next-Gen Roadster SpaceX Package

Okay, this could be a long shot, but it would be really cool if Tesla unveils this vehicle. The next-gen Roadster was the “one more thing” of the Tesla Semi’s unveiling, so it will be pretty interesting to see Tesla use another Roadster as an extra surprise for the Model Y event. While somewhat unlikely considering the vehicle’s release date, it is difficult to argue that a next-gen Roadster that uses actual rocket technology will most definitely turn the Tesla community on its head.

The next-generation Tesla Roadster at Car Classic 2018. [Credit: t35l_4/Instagram]

No surprises?

There is also the possibility (though we definitely hope not) that Tesla will not have a “one more thing” at all. Tesla has done something like this in the past as well, with the Model 3 unveiling, which had no surprises at the end. Since the Model 3 and the Model Y are closely related, perhaps their unveilings will also be similar? Tomorrow’s event will hold the answer.

The Model Y unveiling is scheduled for this evening at Tesla’s LA Design Center and will be live-streamed begining at 8 p.m. PST.

Here are the running results of our poll so far. What do you think?

Tonight’s Tesla Model Y unveiling could come with another Elon Musk surprise

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