The Tesla Model Y was the best-selling car in the world in 2023. And not just among electric vehicles. We may have suspected it over the last few months, but now, with over 1.23 million units delivered to their respective customers, it's official.
This car is of strategic importance both for the American company that produces it and for the entire zero-emission mobility sector. But what makes this electric SUV so attractive? There are many reasons.
All credit to the Model 3
The Model Y is, in a way, the child of the Model 3. If it hadn't been for the electric saloon, with which Tesla learned to produce cars on a large scale, there would have been no Model Y, which arrived in 2020 with a network and production methods capable of handling large volumes.
The Model Y, which shares around 70% of its components with the Model 3, has taken all the positives and taken them to the next level, with new Gigafactories (in Berlin and Austin, Tesla produces the Model Y, but not the Model 3) and innovative production processes.
Comparison of the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 (before restyling)
Revolutionary in many ways
One way of understanding the extent to which Tesla has concentrated on designing the Model Y is the care with which the company's engineers have fine-tuned the electrical system. This was built from a series of patent-protected sub-systems, which reduced the total length of the wires from several kilometres to just a hundred metres, with huge savings in terms of weight, bulk and cost. And that's just one example of how this car has broken the mould.
In terms of production methods, the Model Y has gone even further by introducing gigacasting into production for the first time: the rear section is made in a single mould, replacing the 70 or so components used previously, which has sped up construction of the car considerably. At the Shanghai Gigafactory, it takes just 150 minutes to produce a finished Model Y.
The structure of the Tesla Model Y
All the benefits of the Tesla ecosystem
Another reason why the Model Y has been so successful is that it is a Tesla. Although BYD is poised to take first place, the American company is the world leader in electric car sales for a number of reasons: the brand is synonymous with cutting-edge software (Tesla was the first to introduce over-the-air updates), advanced autonomous driving and efficient energy management.
But Tesla is also appreciated for the performance of its cars and, finally, for the ecosystem it has created with the Supercharger network, the largest and most reliable in the world, or the home storage systems that include Solar Roofs, Powerwalls and, of course, wallboxes.
A home equipped with a Tesla Solar Roof and storage system
An SUV tailored to the market
At 4.75 metres long, 1.92 metres wide and 1.62 metres high, with a wheelbase of 2.89 metres, the Tesla Model Y has the dimensions of a classic family car, with plenty of space inside for occupants and luggage. The rear boot has a capacity of between 600 and 2,158 litres, and there is also a 117-litre frunk compartment at the front.
- Length : 4.75 metres
- Width : 1.92 metres
- Height : 1.62 metres
- Wheelbase : 2.89 metres
- Boot capacity : 600 to 2,158 litres (frunk: 117 litres)
From an aesthetic point of view, it faithfully follows the brand's family spirit that characterises all the cars in the S3XY series. The 'Y', in particular, has a teardrop shape and soft surfaces that give it good aerodynamics, with a Cx of 0.23.
When you climb aboard, you immediately realise that you're in a car made by the company headed by Elon Musk. There's no mistaking it. And it's not because of the big chrome T in the centre of the steering wheel, but because of the minimalist overall layout, with a horizontal dashboard, simple upholstery and the ubiquitous central touchscreen that brings together information about the car, the instruments, the infotainment system and everything else.
Three versions, two batteries
The Model Y is produced in several factories. Specifically, in the United States (Fremont and Austin), China (Shanghai) and Germany (Berlin).
Gallery: Tesla Model Y (2023)
Three versions of the Model Y are currently available: rear-wheel drive, Long Range and Performance. The first has a single engine at the rear and is equipped with a lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery produced by BYD, with a capacity of around 55 kWh. It promises a WLTP range of 283 miles (455 km) and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds, with a top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h).
The other versions have two electric motors, providing all-wheel drive, and a conventional 75 kWh lithium-ion battery (versions with 4680 cells are currently reserved for the US market). The Long Range version covers 331 mi (533 km) on a single charge and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 5 seconds, whilst the Performance version covers a shorter distance 319 mi (514 km) but reaches 62 mph from a standing start in just 3.7 seconds.
As far as top speed is concerned, the former still stops at 135 mph (217 km/h); the latter has the limiter set at 155 mph (250 km/h).
|Model Y Long Range
|Model Y Performance
|55 kWh (LFP)
|0 to 62 mph
Comparison of charging times
Charging times vary depending on the battery: the Long Range and Performance versions reach 250 kW at the Supercharger, whilst the base version, equipped with an LFP battery, stops at 170 kW. In both cases, the Model Y can be fully recharged in less than 30 minutes. The Performance and Long Range versions can go from 20% to 80% in just 15 minutes.
Tesla's new V4 Superchargers
All charging-related activities can be managed either from the car's infotainment system or from the Tesla app, which turns your smartphone into a veritable command centre for the car. Not only can you intervene in the charging process, but you can also open and close the car without a key, regulate the temperature in the passenger compartment and even plan a journey with stops.
- Model Y : 170 kW
- Model Y Long Range and Performance : 250 kW
Fast and versatile
On the road, the Model Y proves to be a comfortable and versatile car. With power ratings ranging from 256 to 437 PS, the car is always pleasantly responsive. Although it doesn't have active suspension, it offers comfort and good dynamic qualities, particularly in versions fitted with larger alloy wheels, thanks to calibrated springs and dampers and a good architecture with wishbones at the front and multi-link at the rear.
In town or when manoeuvring, the steering angle is not very generous and rear visibility is hampered by the sloping rear window and the rather bulky D-pillars.
In the various menus dedicated to driving dynamics, you can adjust both throttle response and steering firmness, allowing each driver to find his or her preferred settings. We also appreciate the surgical precision with which the car distributes torque between the different wheels and the way it transmits the driving force to the ground.