By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla China quietly unveiled an upgraded Model Y, showcasing several modifications designed to keep up with the recently revealed Model 3 refresh and the soon-to-be rolling off the production line - Cybertruck. Tesla China made its grand announcement on its official Weibo account, captioning the unveiling as the Model Y's "evolutionary debut."
While the latest tweaks don't qualify the Model Y for a complete refresh label, they narrow the gap between it and the refreshed Model 3 Highland. Potential buyers will now find themselves weighing the merits of the updated Model Y against its all-new Highland.
We are expecting a full refresh for the Model Y, known as Juniper. However, it may be safe to say that the Highland stole the thunder as the Model 3 and Model Y are similar, so that you can guess the upcoming changes for the Model Y.
Dashboard & Ambient Lighting: The wood veneer trim has been stripped from the Model Y's dash. Replacing it is a textile trim, similar to the new Model 3. Along the dashboard Tesla has introduced RGB ambient lighting - to better match the Model 3. Given that the dashboard remains the same, this begs the question of whether these changes could be retrofitted to the current Model 3 and Model Y.
Wheel Upgrades: Stepping away from the traditional silver, the new Model Y now sports 19-inch black Gemini wheels. These aren't just aesthetically pleasing but also enhance the Model Y RWD's range by approximately 5 miles, taking it to 344 miles by the CLTC standard.
Performance Enhancements: There's more to the new Model Y than meets the eye. The Dual-Motor AWD Long Range version has seen a range uptick of around 17 miles, offering 428 miles on a single charge. Additionally, with a wind resistance coefficient refined to 0.23, the Model Y is a testament to Tesla's commitment to efficiency.
Performance: Tesla has improved the 0 to 100 km/h time of the Model Y as well. According to Tesla, this update will have the Model Y reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds.
FSD Hardware: According to Teslarati, Tesla China's Customer Support team confirmed that the updated Model Y does not include FSD hardware 4.0.
Pricing & Promotional Updates:
The Model Y RWD is priced at RMB 263,900 ($36,742 USD), while the Long Range and Performance variants come in at RMB 299,900 ($41,755 USD) and RMB 349,900 ($48,716), respectively.
In a bid to give new customers added incentives, Tesla China also announced that up until October 31, a referral bonus would also be in play. By leveraging the referral program, new Tesla buyers can get a discount on their final payment and enjoy a 90-day trial period of Enhanced Autopilot.
Although many didn't expect this update to the Model Y, it's not surprising given the excitement around the new Model 3. What this tells us is that the Model Y refresh may not be as close as initially speculated. While these upgrades are visually exciting, they're fairly minor and can be done without major changes to Tesla's production lines. Tesla hopes to narrow the gap between the new Model 3 and the Model Y and prevent buyers from holding out for the refreshed Model Y.
This minor update to the Model Y does not include some of the major updates to the Model 3, such as ventilated seats, improved cabin materials, the new suspension or the blind spot indicator.
As the fourth quarter unfolds, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to Tesla's latest offering and whether this evolutionary debut lives up to its billing.
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By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's ambitious plan to create an affordable electric vehicle known as the "next-gen" or "Model 2" has taken a new directional shift towards Europe. Those at Elon Musk's recent appearance at Giga Berlin say that Germany will be the latest production site for this much-anticipated EV.
This latest pivot towards Europe follows an earlier change that saw Tesla's production strategy migrate from Mexico to Texas, indicating a fluid approach to finding the optimal manufacturing locale for the new model.
The journey of Tesla's $25,000 electric car has been one of adaptability and strategic adjustments. Insights into these shifts came to light in Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk, which narrated Tesla's evolving strategy. The initial blueprint placed Giga Mexico in a pivotal position until logistical challenges prompted Musk to reconsider, resulting in Tesla eyeing Giga Texas.
Despite these changes, Giga Mexico remained a significant piece of Tesla's production puzzle until Musk's latest indications suggest that Giga Berlin could become a central hub for the European market's demands — catering to the Europeans' appetite for smaller cars and affordable, sustainable mobility.
With the announcement in Berlin, Tesla seems to be refining its strategy once more, adapting its production base to not only meet market demands but also optimize manufacturing processes.
During the third quarter earnings call, Musk outlined the production vision for the Model 2, which stands in stark contrast to Tesla's more radical Cybertruck. This next-gen vehicle is pegged to have a conventional approach in manufacturing yet aims to set a new benchmark in efficiency and production volume.
Musk's articulation of the Model 2 as "utilitarian" underscores a pragmatic vision: a functional, efficient, and affordable EV that still upholds Tesla's design ethos. This approach aims to achieve unprecedented economies of scale and bring electric vehicles to a broader market.
Tesla's choice to leverage Giga Berlin for Model 2 production is more than a geographic decision — it's a strategic play that could enhance the company's presence in Europe. This move aligns with Tesla's pursuit of operational efficiency, market-specific tailoring, and, possibly, advantageous manufacturing incentives available in the region.
Tesla's persistent focus on a $25,000 EV signifies a steadfast commitment to making electric vehicles more accessible. Should Tesla overcome the economic barriers, the Model 2 has the potential to redefine mainstream vehicle ownership, propelling the adoption of EVs globally.
Elon Musk thanks all Giga-4 employees. A really big praise to the entire Giga-4 team for the really great work that you do again and again and create great cars. Giga-4!@teslaeurope @Gf4Tesla @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/Oudp0ntiZs— Andre Fink (@andre4fink) November 3, 2023
By Kevin Armstrong
In a move that resonates with the evolving landscape of customer privacy, Tesla has introduced a new feature allowing owners to toggle the ability for the company to send remote commands to their vehicles.
Bennett, a Tesla owner with the handle @bennettm on X, brought attention to the newly discovered toggle within his vehicle's service settings. Running software version 2023.27.7, Bennett found he could now control Tesla's remote access to his car. This functionality was not previously available, and it seems to have been activated remotely, as not all vehicles on the same software iteration exhibit this option.
Tesla presumably had carte blanche to send commands to any car. This shift suggests a more nuanced approach to vehicle command protocols, possibly in response to broader discussions around data security and user consent.
Interestingly, the change comes just days after Elon Musk appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan has talked about his concerns about the ability of companies to be able to shut down technologically advanced vehicles remotely. Although that didn't come up during their latest conversations on air, there is no telling what the two talked about away from the microphone.
Tesla's vehicles are renowned for their advanced technology, including the ability to receive over-the-air updates and commands. The ability to send remote commands could encompass a range of actions, from unlocking doors to starting the vehicle or possibly even resetting systems in emergency scenarios.
Turning remote commands on or off is a significant nod towards user privacy, allowing owners to assert their preferences for connectivity and intervention. For Tesla, it's a delicate balance between ensuring customer trust and maintaining the necessary access to provide the exceptional and cutting-edge experience the brand is known for.
While the details of the implementation are still emerging, this move could have numerous benefits:
Enhanced Privacy: Owners who are cautious about data security may find comfort in the ability to restrict remote access.
Personalized Control: Users can opt-in or opt-out depending on their trust level, usage pattern, or specific situations.
Security: It adds a layer of security, ensuring that only the owner can enable remote commands if they choose to.
As the automotive industry ventures further into the realm of connected cars, managing the intersection of technology and user control becomes increasingly important. Tesla's latest feature exemplifies the company's agile approach to software development, customer feedback, and industry trends. The potential for what remote commands can entail will undoubtedly evolve. Still, for now, Tesla owners can take solace in having a more significant say in how their vehicles are accessed and controlled remotely.