Tesla cancels cheapest Model Y, adds Long Range version

Tesla re-released its Model Y Long Range on Friday, as the model in the lineup providing the longest range at the lowest price—with an extra twist for those who have recently purchased the base Model Y. 

The latest Model Y Long Range includes an EPA range of up to 320 miles and a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds, costing $46,630, including mandatory destination and order fees. That brings a 320-mile EPA range—10 miles more than the current $49,630 Model Y Long Range AWD, which can however accelerate much quicker at 4.8 seconds to 60 mph.

But that wasn’t the most noteworthy piece of news from Tesla’s most recent realignment of pricing and models. On Saturday CEO Elon Musk chimed in on his X social network, explaining that the base Model Y versions that have been built and delivered in recent months actually have more available range—to be unlocked for $1,500 to $2,000, with corresponding gains of 40 to 60 miles of range, pending “regulatory approvals.”

Post on X by Elon Musk – May 4, 2024

That would mean someone who bought a base Model Y at the $44,630 it cost after Tesla’s most recent price cuts might be able to step that up to the 320-mile range with a total outlay of the same $46,630. 

The possibility begs plenty of questions—like why Tesla was again building vehicles with far more battery capacity than it needed to deliver the rated range—a head-scratcher when profitability is squeezing the entire market and battery capacity is one of the greatest single costs. There’s a backstory here that, as of yet, Musk appears unwilling to tell; but perhaps there will be more info pending those regulatory approvals.

2024 Tesla Model Y. – Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

The automaker notes that the Model Y in any of these versions qualifies for the full $7,500 EV tax credit. While that’s a big advantage—lowering the effective cost to $39,130 for many households—the Model Y is no longer a far-ahead range leader. The 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E, for instance, in its rear-wheel-drive extended battery version will also go an EPA-rated 320 miles (although that takes a larger battery). Electric crossover models without luxury prices that go more include the Fisker Ocean (360 miles) and the Chevy Blazer EV (324 miles, not yet officially confirmed). The Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia EV6 all provide 300 miles or more of range, too. 

Tesla offers more consistency in the charging experience, and that remains the company’s competitive advantage—although with the pending sharing of the network with a wide range of automakers and the recent layoffs of the entire team, that advantage is looking less certain.