The launch of the Tesla Model Y electric crossover could be just weeks away and as sightings increase of the latest model in the US, a new photo has emerged that suggests Tesla has already made at least 600 of the vehicles.
Car makers often make multitudes of prototypes of vehicles before they are ready for production, so while the number is not surprising it does give some insight into the pre-production preparations currently being undertaken by the Californian automaker.
Shared on social forum site Reddit, a photo shows the VIN of a black Dual Motor Model Y with chrome details along with some neat images of the vehicle lined up with other Tesla vehicles at a Supercharger station in Salinas south of San Francisco.
Just one of numerous sightings from the area, the VIN for the Model Y is listed as
5YJYGDEF5LFR00594 – which as discussed on The Driven last week – can tell us a number of different things when run through the NHTSA VIN decoder page.
Firstly, this official Model Y VIN (which is indicated by the “5YJ” for Tesla and the “Y” for Model Y) tells us that this prototype was made at Tesla’s Fremont Gigafactory (the second “F” is for Fremont), where the Model 3 is made and where Tesla is planning to ramp up Model Y volume production throughout 2020.
Other specs remain the same as listed in our previous article, including the GDEF portion of the VIN which relates to body type and gross vehicle weight, restraints, battery and drive unit.
The final sequence of numbers – 00594 – shows that a minimum of around 600 VINs have been registered by Tesla with NHTSA for the purpose of producing Model Y vehicles.
VINs are typically registered in batches, and while it is important to note they may not necessarily be applied to vehicles in a sequential order, it is reasonably likely this does indicate the number of Model Ys that have been built by Tesla as it prepares for sales Musk thinks will outstrip the Model 3, Model S and Model X combined.
This, as well as the numerous sightings of the Model Y along with other signals such as the addition of VINs to the NHTSA VIN decoder page and Tesla’s manufacturer listing, and certification from CARB as reported on Wednesday last week, certainly add to the mounting excitement about the Model Y’s possibly imminent release.
With Tesla set to report on its Q4 2020 earnings and future outlook on Thursday week, there is much speculation about whether this will include an announcement about the start of deliveries to customers.
Originally slated for a northern hemisphere Fall (autumn) 2020 release, CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said at the company’s Q3 2019 earnings call Musk said production for the Model Y was being brought forward three months to summer 2020.
However other clues from the Deutsche bank, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) and a “confirmation” via Twitter purported to be from a Tesla staff member suggest that deliveries for the Model Y will begin in the first quarter of 2020, perhaps within weeks.
Although first deliveries are likely to be to winners of a referral code competition (the current certification with CARB is only for the Performance AWD variant of the Model Y), the anticipation is stoking an enormous appetite for sightings of the upcoming model.
This appetite is now also being whetted by Tesla and tech YouTuber Ryan Shaw, who has made an illuminating sequence of sightings of the Model Y starting with what is believed to be the first sighting in April 2019 on display in Fremont and shows as many sightings as he could find throughout the internet.
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.