Tesla’s Model Y strategy shows that long range EVs are the new standard

The Tesla Model Y. (Credit: MotorTrend)

Over the weekend, Tesla, through its CEO, Elon Musk, revealed that the Model Y Standard Range RWD will no longer be produced. In its place will be a Long Range RWD variant that Musk states will have a range that’s significantly higher than 300 miles per charge. With this update, the message was clear: Tesla is intent on making Long Range versions of its vehicles as the new standard. 

When Elon Musk unveiled the all-electric crossover, Tesla listed the Standard Range RWD version of the Model Y as a vehicle that could hit 230 miles of range per charge. Such a range is more than what’s needed for everyday use, and thanks to Tesla’s Supercharger Network, which recently celebrated the buildout of its 2000th station worldwide, even a 230-mile Model Y would be capable of going on long trips without inconveniencing its passengers. 

Yet, when Elon Musk confirmed that the Standard Range RWD version of the Model Y has been cancelled, he stated that the variant’s range would be “unacceptably low.” This is quite an interesting statement from the CEO, especially considering that other carmakers entering the EV space today still seem to be making cars that are only capable of breaking 200 EPA miles and very little else. 

Among the most promising of these is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which is targeting a 300-mile EPA range. But for now, that target is just that — a target. And it’s not like legacy automakers have the best record when it comes to estimating their electric vehicles’ EPA range, either. The Porsche Taycan, for example, was long expected to have a 300 mile range like the Tesla Model S. But today, the Taycan’s highest official EPA range is listed at a humble 203 miles per charge, and that’s the most efficient version of the car to date. 

Tesla’s decision to retire the Standard Range RWD variant of the Model Y seems to be a way to emphasize that its line of vehicles are a class above what other automakers are offering, at least when it comes to range. This seems to be a theme with Tesla’s vehicles as of late, as hinted at by the Raven Model S Long Range AWD breaking the 400 mile barrier. Tesla’s battery tech is poised to improve as well, which should pave the way for the rollout of even more impressive vehicles like the Plaid series Model S and Model X. 

The cancellation of the Model Y Standard Range RWD also seems to be a way for the company to keep the Model 3 Standard Range Plus as the de facto entry level Tesla for some time. After all, the Model Y Standard Range RWD was initially listed with a price of $39,000, which is very close to the Model 3 Standard Range Plus’ $37,990. By removing the Model Y Standard Range, Tesla could ensure that the Model 3 Standard Range Plus will remain a bang for your buck sedan. 

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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