Tesla said Monday it has started delivering the Model Y crossover to customers in the U.S., hitting a milestone one year after unveiling the prototype and six months ahead of schedule.
Reports of deliveries started last week. The tweet from Tesla, which included a video of the Model Y being assembled and then hitting the road, made it official.
Tesla announced in January that production of the Model Y had started with plans to begin the first deliveries of the all-electric compact crossover by the end of the first quarter. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the time that the company would initially produce a limited volume of the Model Y.
When Musk unveiled last March a prototype of the Model Y, he predicted the vehicle would hit the marketplace in fall 2020. At the time of the unveiling, the Model Y looked strikingly similar to the Model 3. Now that Tesla has started deliveries and released the owner's manual to the Model Y, it's easier to spot how it's different or the same as the Model 3.
Here are some of the important features and differences between the Model Y and Model 3.
Model Y size
The owner's manual shows the Model Y is 187 inches long, 75.6 inches wide excluding the mirrors and 63.9 inches high. The wheel base is 113.8 inches long and the ground clearance is 6.6 inches.
The Model Y is bigger and higher than the Model 3. Here's how it stacks up. The Model Y is 2 inches longer, 2.8 inches wider (excluding the mirrors) and 7.1 inches taller than the Model 3. The wheelbase of the Model Y is 0.6 inch longer and the ground clearance is 1.1 inch higher. The Model Y also has a 2.2 inch wider track (using base wheels) and about 1.4 inch more of a front overhang.
Moving to the inside of the Model Y, customers will find a tiny bit more headroom — less than an inch. There's about 5 inches more legroom in the backseat and a little under an inch less legroom in the front seat compared to the Model 3.
The Model Y is, as expected, heavier than the Model 3 by nearly 350 pounds.
The Model Y has been described as a crossover, and so one would expect it to have more storage and the ability to tow things. The Model Y has the cargo space — a total of 68 cubic feet in all. However, these vehicles are not equipped for towing, according to the manual.
To maximize cargo space, each second row seat back can be folded fully forward to lay flat. There are a couple of ways to fold the seats flat. One way is by pulling and holding the handle, push the corresponding seat back fully forward, according to the manual. It's also possible to use a quick release button located on the left side of the rear trunk area to fold the seats down. A 12-volt charger is located in the trunk area as well.
There's also an option to push down the center section of the second row to allow for long items such as skis.
Curiously, while there's more total cargo space, the recommended cargo capacity, in terms of weight, is 35 pounds less than the Model 3.
Model Y range and price
The long-range Model Y has a range of 315 miles and has a base price of $52,990. The standard range Model 3 has a range of 250 miles and a base price of $39,990, the long range version can travel 322 miles on a single charge and is priced at $48,990.
A little helper for cold climates
One interesting feature is that the Model Y has heat pump, which the owner's manual says is used to maximize efficiency. The manual notes that the air conditioning compressor and external fan may run and make noise even when the outside temperature is cold.
The upshot: the heat pump is a means to a better range in colder climates.
Just like the Model 3, customers can expect a variety of easter eggs, hidden games and features in the infotainment system, including Arcade, Santa mode and Mars, which gives a map that shows a Model Y as a rover on the Martian landscape.