A number of sightings of Tesla Model Ys are coming to light, amid reports that Tesla is planning to start production of its latest electric vehicle from early 2020.
At least three red Tesla Model Y electric SUVs were spotted on Tuesday morning (Australian time) being transported near the Californian carmaker’s Fremont factory.
A few Model Ys spotted in Fremont being transported pic.twitter.com/PGetmhrlCM
— Tesla Owners Online (@Model3Owners) October 14, 2019
Another Model Y in Midnight Silver was also spotted on Highway 680 in Fremont apparently undergoing road testing (photo at top of article).
This particular model has created a great deal of excitement with its 19″ aero sports wheels which appear to be the same offered on the Performance Model 3 in China.
The sightings of what are presumably prototypes for testing come as a leak from somebody familiar with Tesla’s schedule stated that Tesla will start production of the Model Y in early 2020.
This is significant, because although CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has previously said that volume production for the Model Y would start in late 2020.
Which means, while Model Ys will start rolling off the factory floor in the first months of next year – based on information from CleanTechnica’s source – there will be a ramp up to producing the “mass-market” electric SUV towards the end of the year.
The Model Y, when it does finally go on sale, will be Tesla’s fourth volume vehicle, completing the S3XY lineup and offering an alternative to its popular Model 3 sedan.
Musk expects that sales will go well too, saying at the Tesla Q2 earnings call that Model 3 and Model Y sales combined will be in the vicinity of 2 million units a year.
Drivers in the left hand markets are already able to place a deposit on the Model Y (in the USA, this is $US2,500, about $A3,700 converted). When right hand drive markets such as Australia will be able to put down a deposit is as yet unknown.
However, given the symmetric nature of the Model 3 (3/4 of which the Model Y is based on) design, switching to RHD production should not be too much of a drama for Tesla the second time around.
Hopefully, it won’t be a full three year wait as it was for the Tesla Model 3 in Australia.
Changes in wheel options seems to be flavour of the week at Tesla; according to Electrek, a shipment of Model 3s, this time with black wheels in the same design as the optional 19″ Sports offered on the Model 3 in the USA and some other markets.
— Olof Johansson (@olofj) October 13, 2019
While the spotter here suggests this particular batch is headed for Europe based on the plates, could this eventually spell more choice for Australian Tesla customers soon in the wheel department?
Currently, there is only one option for each of the three variants available for the Model 3 in Australia: 18″ Aeros for the Standard Range Plus and Long Range, and 20″ Performance for (obviously) the Performance variant.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.