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Tesla updates base Model Y in China: New name, longer range, but slightly slower

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Tesla has updated its base Model Y in China, and the changes are quite interesting. Apart from a change in the vehicle’s name, the company also adjusted the all-electric crossover’s estimated range. What’s more, the listed performance of the vehicle has been updated to something less impressive than before. 

The base Tesla Model Y was given the “Standard Range” moniker when it debuted in the Chinese market earlier this year. Priced aggressively while retaining key features such as basic Autopilot and Bioweapon Defense Mode, the base Model Y proved very popular, so much so that Tesla was confident enough to export the vehicle to foreign markets. With the recent update, the Model Y Standard Range is now dubbed the Model Y RWD, similar to the base Model 3 in the United States. 

The name change is but the tip of the iceberg with the base Model Y’s changes. Tesla China also updated the vehicle’s range to 545 km (338 miles) per charge under the China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CLTC) standards. This is a bit higher compared to the vehicle’s previous range of 525 km (326 miles) per charge under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) standards. 

Interestingly enough, the base Model Y’s acceleration took a hit with the company’s recent update. As per Tesla China’s online configurator, the base Model Y now has a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds, effectively making it the slowest vehicle in Tesla’s present available lineup. Previously, the base Model Y was listed with a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds, making it on par with some premium crossovers in the market. 

The reasons behind these changes are likely the company’s adoption of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are also being used for the base Model 3. Tesla’s Elon Musk has spoken about this strategy, with the CEO noting that iron-based cells are best for the company’s entry-level vehicles. LFP batteries are more cost-effective to produce and they use no cobalt, thereby making them less controversial. They are also generally safer, but they are less energy-dense than their nickel-based counterpart, which are used on flagships such as the Model S and Model X. 

The base Tesla Model Y in China is currently listed with an estimated delivery time of Q1 2022, a bit later than its previous estimate of 10-14 weeks. This suggests that the demand for the vehicle is still very strong. It would be pretty interesting to see how Tesla customers respond to having a vehicle’s new variant be slower than its predecessor, however. Tesla, after all, is known for steadily making its cars quicker over time. This seems to be one of the first times that the company opted to adopt an opposite strategy. 

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Tesla updates base Model Y in China: New name, longer range, but slightly slower
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