Enlarge /. A Tesla model Y.
Tesla isn't exactly known for meeting its own deadlines, but the company appears to be turning the page with the Y model.
When Tesla announced the new crossover vehicle last year, the first deliveries were forecast in autumn 2020. Spring hasn't even started yet, but Tesla says the first Model Y is already being delivered to customers – a solid six months ahead of schedule.
A key part of Tesla's strategy for Model Y was to share as much of Model 3 as possible. This saved Tesla from having to redesign the Model Y from scratch, and allowed the company to reuse larger parts of the Model 3 manufacturing process. This strategy could explain how Tesla was able to launch Model Y so quickly.
Tesla should pursue a similar strategy with the Model X, the company's premium SUV released in 2015. The X model should be a minor modification to the S model, which enables low development costs and a quick market launch.
But Tesla added so many bells and whistles – especially the devilishly complex Model X falcon gullwing doors – that Model X lagged behind schedule and over budget. It was still quite a popular and successful vehicle, but it wasn't an easy way to monetize the Model S platform as Elon Musk hoped.
This time around, Tesla seems to be showing more discipline. Model Y really looks like Model 3 with a little more height. It's not peppered with exotic new features that add cost and complexity. This could enable Tesla to tap into the significant crossover vehicle market, sell lots of cars, and make a healthy profit.
As usual, Tesla sells the more expensive and more profitable versions of the Y model first. Currently, the cheapest Y model you can buy is a long-haul model that starts at $ 52,990. For an additional $ 8,000, you get the high-end performance model that offers shorter 0-60 times and a higher top speed.
However, if you were hoping to get a Tesla crossover for less than $ 40,000, as Tesla originally announced last year, you'll have to wait until next year for the Standard Range low-end model to hit the stores is coming.