Tesla CEO Elon Musk canceled the possibility of the Model Y Standard Range variant earlier this year after citing range deficiencies as “unacceptable.” Since then, however, a lot has happened. Tesla’s recent Battery Day presentation showed that the company had developed a more extended range, higher-powered, more energy-capable battery cell. This begs the question: Could the Model Y Standard Range become a reality with the new 4680 cells?
EV range has been one of the main drawbacks of owning an electric car for those who have considered the option. Before Tesla, many of the EVs that were and are available on the market offer considerably low range ratings, which would require owners to stop frequently for a charge. Tesla truly changed the narrative by offering long-range electric cars at an affordable price point. All they had left to do is build a vehicle with each body style so that their cars would appeal to the masses.
After the Model 3, Tesla developed the Model Y crossover. It would be Tesla’s first attempt at the widely popular body style, and it was due to have three variants: Standard Range, Long Range All-Wheel Drive, and Performance.
However, the Standard Range, the most affordable configuration of the all-electric crossover, was scrapped in mid-July. Elon Musk stated that the range “would be unacceptably low (< 250 EPA)” he said in a Tweet.
However, the variant was canceled before Tesla unveiled the 4680 cells. Although Musk stated that the new batteries had been used for several months, why wouldn’t they be efficient or fitting enough for the Model Y Standard Range variant?
The 4680 battery cells are tabless, offer a higher range, more energy, and more power per cell compared to the 2170 cells that are currently used in the Model 3 and Model Y. With these claims, the Model Y SR variant should offer more than 250 miles of range.
But the most significant part of the puzzle for consumers is affordability. The new 4680 cells are cheaper to produce and offer a 14% reduction in cost per kWh at the cell form factor level. This ultimately means that the SR Model Y could be more cost-efficient than before, while the new cell tech could offer an increased range that Musk could see as “acceptable.”
Since Tesla had known about the cell’s capabilities long before anyone else did, it could be possible that the new cells didn’t offer any advantages, but it seems unlikely. The development of the new 4680 cells is expected to increase range throughout whichever vehicles Tesla chooses to put them in. Pack this fact in with the affordability aspect of the new cells, and there seems to be some indication that the Model Y Standard Range could become a production car for Tesla in the future.
The Long Range Model Y starts at $49,990, and unfortunately, that isn’t a price point that everyone can afford. While Tesla lowered the price of both the Long Range and Performance variants after the Standard Range configuration was canceled, the missing piece appears to be an affordable rear-wheel-drive Model Y.