March 14 (UPI) — Tesla is set to unveil its long-awaited Model Y sport-utility vehicle on Thursday at the company’s Los Angeles Design Studio.
The Model Y will be a cheaper, scaled down version of the company’s existing Model X SUV. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the new electric SUV will be 10 percent larger than the Model 3 four-door sedan and cost 10 percent more, placing it somewhere near $40,000.
Prices of the Model 3 vary, but the company recently began producing a $35,000 standard model. The Model X comes in an $88,000 “Long Range” or $104,000 “Performance” packages.
Musk also said the Model Y “baby SUV” will use the same battery as the Model 3 but get less range because of its increased weight and size. He added that more detailed specs and pricing as well as test rides will be available at the reveal event on Thursday.
The reveal will happen at 8 p.m. PDT Thursday at Tesla’s Hawthorne, Calif., studio. It will be streamed live on Tesla’s website.
The company has teased the vehicle with an image of its blacked out silhouette to promote Thursday’s reveal and tech vlogger Marques Brownlee uncovered the words “NICE TRY” while attempting to manipulate the image to unveil more details the SUV’s design.
“OK well played,” Brownlee tweeted, prompting Musk to respond with a winking-face emoji.
With the reveal of the Model Y Tesla will look to tap into the compact SUV segment of the U.S. auto market, which grew by grew by 12.6 percent to 3.5 million in 2018. Compact SUVs represent the largest segment in the United States, 50 percent larger than the next-largest segment.
Tesla is expected to begin taking orders for the Model Y shortly after Thursday’s reveal, but buyers won’t take delivery for a while. The Model Y will slowly begin production early next year with production ramping up in late 2020. It’s also worth noting that Tesla has missed production goals in the past.
and analysis firm Trefis projected it could account for a quarter of Tesla’s revenue and an earnings per share contribution of $6 by 2022.
On Monday, Tesla walked back plans to move sales of its vehicles entirely online, announcing it would raise vehicle prices other than the $35,000 Model 3 to keep more physical stores open. The automaker closed 10 percent of locations that didn’t invite “natural foot traffic” and another 20 percent are under review.
This year also saw Tesla break ground on a new factory in Shanghai, which is planned to house production of the Model Y after its initial production at the company’s Reno, Nevada, factory.
Thursday’s reveal comes amid a turbulent time for Tesla, as it attempts to make good on its promise of providing a cheaper Model 3 and Musk battles with federal regulators.
Musk has clashed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after he was fined $20 million and forced to step down as Tesla chairman for a tweet last summer about taking the automaker private if the share price reached $420, while falsely stating he’d already secured funding.
That SEC settlement required company officials to pre-approve Musk’s communications, including tweets, which regulators said he breached with an inaccurate Feb. 19 tweet that said “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019.” Musk later accused the SEC of “overreach.”
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