7 features we’ll probably see in Tesla’s mysterious ‘Model Y’

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tesla plans to launch its first mass-market car, the Model 3, by the end of 2017. But Tesla also has another important vehicle in the works.

In July, Musk confirmed that Tesla plans to bring a new compact SUV to market. This vehicle will be the crossover version of the Model 3 and will be called the Model Y.

Tesla has not yet revealed a timeline for the vehicle, but considering a number of other major automakers are planning to roll out electric SUVs by 2020, it’s possible Tesla could have a similar timeline.

Musk has kept mum on details pertaining to the upcoming SUV, but he has talked generally about features coming to future Tesla vehicles and has talked a lot about the Model Y’s sister vehicle, the Model 3.

Based on his comments, we pulled together a list of some of the features we’ll likely see in Tesla’s Model Y.


Falcon-wing doors

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk demonstrates the falcon-wing doors on the new Tesla Model X on September 29, 2015.
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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In October 2015, Musk posted a tweet suggesting the Model Y could have falcon-wing doors.

In a response to a Twitter follower asking if the Model 3 crossover will have falcon-wing doors, Musk said that “there will be a Model 3 and a Model Y. One of the two will.”

Musk later deleted the tweet.

It’s worth noting that Musk revealed a prototype of the Model 3 in March and that car did not have falcon-wing doors, so perhaps they will show up on the Model Y, at least as an option.


Solar roof

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Tesla Model 3
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Tesla Motors

In November, Musk said via Twitter that Tesla would likely begin to include solar roofs as an option for its cars. Musk didn’t share a specific timeline of when to expect the feature, but he did say that it “would probably be an option” on the Model 3. He also said in a follow-up tweet that it wouldn’t be too expensive.

Musk has been hinting at the possibility of Tesla building cars with solar roofs for some time.

After the unveiling of Tesla’s solar glass shingles in late October, Musk tweeted that the same glass technology could be used on the roof of a car to act as a defroster. Musk also added that solar glass on a car would be net positive, meaning that it would create more energy than it used to do things like defrost the hood of the vehicle.

Given that Musk said a solar-roof option will likely be available for the Model 3, it’s likely we’ll see it either come standard or as an option on the Model Y.


Fully autonomous driving mode

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Tesla

Tesla cars are known for their semi-autonomous system called Autopilot. But in October, Musk announced he was taking Tesla’s self-driving tech to a whole new level with new hardware that enables its newer cars to be completely autonomous.

This means the Model S and Model X models produced after October, including the Model 3, will be equipped with the hardware to eventually be fully autonomous. The full self-driving system will cost $8,000 at the time of purchase and include all of the Enhanced Autopilot features.

However, it’s still not clear yet when Tesla will actually enable full autonomy on its cars for customers. The company states on its website that this will depend on software validation and regulatory approval, which will vary by geographic location.

Whenever the Model Y comes out, we can almost certainly expect it to be equipped with the updated hardware. What’s more, Tesla may have done enough software validation by then that customers in some parts of the world may even be able to take advantage of the fully autonomous system.


Range of at least 238 miles per charge

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REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

We haven’t heard any details about the Model Y’s range just yet, but considering GM’s all-electric Chevy Bolt SUV just launched with a range of 238 miles per charge, it’s likely the Model Y will have a competitive range.

Tesla’s Model 3 will have a base range of 215 miles, but Tesla will offer battery options like it does with the Model S and Model X to increase the range per charge.


More cargo space

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Daniel McMahon

Tesla’s premium SUV, the Model X, has spacious seating, but when it first launched it was a little tight on cargo space. That’s because the second row of seats didn’t fold down.

In November, though, Tesla began offering a configuration that allows the second-row seats in a five-seat Model X to fold down, providing 88 cubic feet of interior cargo storage.

Musk made sure not to make the same mistake regarding utility with the Model 3. At its reveal, Musk said that drivers will be able to fit a seven-foot surfboard in the vehicle and hinted that the back seats will fold down.

Given the problems Tesla had with cargo space in the Model X at the launch and its focus on cargo in the Model 3, it’s likely we’ll see lots of interior storage in the Model Y.


A heads-up display

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Flickr / Steve Jurvetson

A heads-up display shows the driver vital data, like navigation information and speed limits, directly on the windshield in front of the driver.

While Tesla doesn’t offer a heads-up display on any of its vehicles (unlike other premium car makers), it’s speculated that the Model 3 may come equipped with one.

Tesla has not yet revealed what the Model 3 dashboard and instrument panel will look like, but in April, Musk said via Twitter that the Model 3 will have a steering system that “feels like a spaceship.”

While it’s not yet clear if this means that the Model 3 will have a heads-up display, it’s likely that by the time Tesla launches the Model Y it will at least offer the option of a heads-up display.


An affordable price

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REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Tesla has not shared a price range for its upcoming compact SUV. However, given it will be built on the Model 3 architecture, it’s likely that Tesla won’t price the Model Y to be significantly higher than the Model 3’s base price of $35,000.

Also, considering General Motors already sells its all-electric SUV crossover, the Chevy Bolt, for $37,500 before tax incentives, it would make sense for Tesla to price the Model Y in the same ballpark.

However, there’s always the possibility that Tesla could make the Model Y a cheaper version of the Model X, similar to the BMW X3, which begins pricing at about $40,000.