In Brief
  • The Tesla Model Y, the crossover SUV version of the Model 3, is not yet available on the company's website, but has already been the focus of many rumors.
  • The Model Y is expected to 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.

A Compact SUV

Last July, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted about a new project that, to date, still remains in the works. The Tesla Model Y — not yet its official name — is supposedly the crossover SUV version of the Model 3, the company’s first mass-market car.

Since then, not much has been revealed about this uber secretive car model, although there have been a considerable amount of rumors — many fueled by tweets from Musk himself – which remain unconfirmed. As of yet, the product isn’t even on the company’s website.

Credits: AutoGuide
Credits: AutoGuide

Still, reports assert the Model Y is already in the advanced stages of development. If all goes well, it will go to production a little bit after the Model 3, perhaps some time in 2018. An official timeline, though, still hasn’t been announced.

But what can we expect from the Model Y? Let’s take a look at the rumors and see which are probable, and which are less than likely.

A Hodgepodge of Features

Of course, like other Tesla vehicles, the Model Y will certainly feature an autonomous driving system. Except that it’s not going to be your regular, semi-autonomous Autopilot found in existing Tesla models – instead, it’s expected to 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. Musk isn’t saying when full, Level 5 autonomy will be implemented, though. The company states on its website that this will depend on software validation and regulatory approval.

The vehicle is also going to incorporate Tesla’s solar roof technology, thanks to that successful merger with SolarCity. Seeing how this technology is already being used in other models, it’s highly probable that it’ll find its way onto this SUV. Musk explained that solar glass on a car would be net positive, meaning that it would create more energy than it uses.

Both a favorite and a bother, it was initially reported that the Model Y would have fancy falcon-wing doors present in the Model X. This assumption came from a tweet posted by Musk himself in October 2015. The tweet didn’t outright say that the Model Y would have these doors, it merely hinted that either the Model 3 or the Model Y might have them. Musk later deleted the tweet.

With the the design for the Model 3 already out, we now know that it doesn’t have falcon-wings. So, it remains probable that the Model Y might have them. Still, some say that falcon-wing doors — which have caused Tesla and Model X owners their share of headaches — would most probably not be used on the Model Y. Perhaps buyers will have the option, as it seems like they’re pretty divided on the subject.

Credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Model Y is expected to have a competitive range that will rival Chevrolet’s electric SUV, more cargo space than its sedan cousins, and an option to offer a heads-up dashboard display. The dashboard of the Model 3 still hasn’t been unveiled, so we can’t yet speculate what the Model Y’s will look like. However, back in April, Musk said via Twitter that the Model 3 will have a steering system that “feels like a spaceship.”

The price for all this? Again, Musk is keeping mum. It can be assumed, though, that the Model Y will be more costly than the Model 3’s base price of $35,000. All these rumors do make for an exciting Tesla SUV, but nothing is set in stone. There is one thing we can be sure of, however – the Model Y will be a Tesla, and looking at the company’s track record, their cars always have some surprises in store.