Tesla Model Y in-depth review – design, security, technology, performance

The Tesla Model Y is an electric crossover compact utility vehicle (CUV) developed by Tesla Inc. It was presented on March 14, 2019. The first deliveries occurred on March 13, 2020.

It has 5 to 7 seats. It has one or two electric motors and can have AWD (all-wheel drive). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h (62 mph) takes place between 3.7 seconds and 6.3 seconds. The top speed ranges from 193 km/h (120 mph) to 241 km/h (150 mph). It has a range of 370 km (230 miles) for Standard Range, to 483 km (315 miles) for Long Range, according to the EPA cycle. It closely resembles the Tesla Model 3 with which it shares 75% of the parts.


Tesla was founded to accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation, to combat global warming and deaths from transportation pollution. Tesla in its beginnings drafted its “master plan” to influence the industry from its limited resources. It had three main points:

  1. Start with a small project by manufacturing few units at a high price. It was the Tesla Roadster. It demonstrated that a high-performance electric car could be manufactured that dispelled the myth that electric vehicles were slow, heavy, ugly and with little driving range. Tesla went on to manufacture up to 500 units a year. It had a big effect on the industry, and Bob Lutz, former president of General Motors claimed that the Tesla Roadster was responsible for starting the Chevy Volt program, which in turn influenced the Nissan Leaf program.
  2. Manufacture a vehicle in greater volume of units and at a less expensive price. The Tesla Model S proved that it could compete with the large luxury saloons. On the same platform Tesla built the Tesla Model X.
  3. Vehicle produced in large volume and at an affordable price. Tesla benefits obtained with previous models enabled him to tackle the project of the Model 3.
    The Tesla Roadster was officially unveiled to the public on July 19, 2006 and the first production delivery of the vehicle was in the first quarter of 2008. As of January 2012, a total of 2,450 vehicles were sold between the different versions of the Roadster.

The Tesla Model S was announced at a press conference on June 30, 2008. The prototype was shown at a press conference on March 26, 2009. The Tesla Model S began delivery to the US market on June 22, 2012.

The Tesla Model X was unveiled on February 9, 2012 and the first deliveries in the US market were held on 29 September 2015.

On March 31, 2016, the official presentation ceremony of the Tesla Model 3 was held and on July 28, 2017, the first units were delivered. Until March 2019 Tesla had sold some 550,000 vehicles of its first 4 models.

In 2013, Tesla Motors applied for the registration of the trademark “Model Y”.

The first mention of the Model Y was on October 2, 2015, when in response to a question on Twitter about the hawk-wing doors of Model X, Elon Musk mentioned that they would also be used in a future Tesla Model Y, joking about short for model names with the word S3XY.

In 2017, the prototype of Model Y was shown at the general meeting of shareholders.

Elon Musk announced that Model Y would not be produced in Fremont because there would be no room for a new production line.

In June 2018, Elon Musk showed a new prototype and announced that it would be presented in March 2019.

Initially it was planned for 2018, but production problems delayed the Model 3 to 2019.

In October 2018 Elon Musk approved the final design of the first production version of the Model Y that would begin in 2020.

On March 3, 2019 Elon Musk published several tweets announcing the presentation and confirming some specifications.

Musk confirmed that he would use the Model 3 platform, being 10% larger in volume and that it would have conventional doors, ruling out the hawk-wing ones.

On March 14, 2019 Elon Musk presented the Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California. More specs were announced and a vehicle showing driving tests was offered to guests.

Specifications Comparison


Franz von Holzhausen was the head of design responsible for the Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X and Tesla Model 3. Based on Model 3, he designed the Tesla Model Y, which is 10% higher in volume, has a tailgate and can optionally have a third row of 2 seats. It shares 75% of the parts with the Tesla Model 3. The aerodynamic coefficient of 0.23 is the same as in the Tesla Model 3. It is lower than the Model S with 0.24, which at the time was already the lowest in a production car.

Panoramic roof

It has a panoramic glass ceiling. Transport bars can be installed on the ceiling. In April 2020 the first units did not have the trailer hitch option, although the tow ball option with the ability to haul 1600 kg could be ordered for Europe. It does not have an instrument panel in front of the driver. It has in the center of the dashboard a 15-inch (380 mm) horizontal touch screen where all the information on the instrument panel, air conditioning, radio, telephone, internet and navigation are presented. The operating system is based on Linux.

Driver’s perspective

It does not have an opening key since it uses a Bluetooth system from the mobile phone for access and start-up. As an emergency system, it has an RFID proximity card that allows you to open the doors and start the car. You can manage up to 19 keys that can be mobile phones, cards or smart keys. Optionally you can buy a wireless key that allows you to open the car, the rear boot and the front boot.

It is mostly made of steel and has some aluminum parts. The doors are made of aluminum.

It does not have exterior antennas since they are integrated in the rear windshield and inside the exterior mirrors.

The wheels of the Standard version come with Aero plastic hubcaps that reduce air turbulence, improving driving range on the road by 10%.

For the front ventilation instead of nozzles, it has horizontal grooves where the flow and direction of the air are electronically controlled from the screen.

Two seats down

The rear seats can be electrically folded down individually using buttons on the boot. The inclination can be regulated in various positions.

The tailgate has motorized opening and closing.

There is a big storage compartment under the trunk floor. There is no tray that covers the trunk that prevents viewing the contents of the trunk from the outside. The total capacity of the storage amounts to 1926 liters. On the outside it has no chrome parts and instead they are black.

Trunk storage compartment under the floor

The wipers have four integrated water sprays on each arm. There is also a front storage compartment or frunk.


In the center console it has a Qi wireless charger and USB 2.0 and USB-C connectors. The rear passengers have two USB-C ports to charge devices.

It has a 12 V cigarette lighter socket in the trunk.

The sun visors have magnetic coupling on the movable side.

The front radar has an electric heater to prevent ice or snow from accumulating that hinders Autopilot operation.

The doors have a button for their non-motorized electric opening. In an emergency they have a manual handle.

Its body consist of a large piece of die-cast aluminum, replacing numerous parts. Elon Musk was inspired by a scale model of the Tesla Model S made from a die-cast aluminum part, and wondered if the body could be made with that technique. Tesla purchased two of the world’s largest presses for aluminum foil stamping in 40 milliseconds. The aluminum stamping under pressure requires a subsequent heat treatment that usually produces deformations in large parts. Tesla developed an aluminum alloy that does not need post heat treatment.

Safety & Security

Elon Musk emphasized that safety was a priority. They hope to get 5-star ratings together and in all crash test categories, such as the Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3. The battery pack goes to the floor of the vehicle so its center of gravity is very low and thus minimizes the risk of tipping over.

All models comes standard with the Tesla Autopilot hardware, including radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors and 8 cameras and all associated active safety features.

As standard, it has an emergency brake, collision warning and blind spot monitoring. Optionally it has Full Self-Driving capability (total autonomous driving capacity), which allows autonomous driving on streets and highways. It also allows the vehicle to go alone to find the driver in a parking lot. Autonomous driving is pending the approval of the regulators of each country. Active safety features have been standard on all Tesla models since September 2014 and provide an additional layer of security over and above the physical structure of the car. These features are updated and enhanced with regular over the air software updates. In the third quarter of 2018, Tesla began publishing a quarterly serious accident statistic comparing it to the United States average.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, Tesla claimed that its vehicles registered a serious accident for every 4.94 million kilometers (3 million miles) in which Autopilot was activated. When Autopilot was not activated, a serious accident occurred for every 3.38 million kilometers (2.1 million miles). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, there was one serious accident for every 770,000 kilometers (478,456 miles). Therefore the probability of a serious accident was about 6 times lower in a Tesla with the Autopilot activated and about 4 times lower without the Autopilot activated, compared to the average of the United States driver.

In April 2019 the Autopilot began to come standard on all Tesla vehicles while Full Self Driving Capability was optional.


The liquid-cooled Lithium Ion battery pack is located under the floor of the vehicle. This gives it a very low center of gravity, increasing stability and tip-over resistance. Unlike the Tesla Model S and Model X, which use the 18650 battery (18mm in diameter and 65mm in height), the Tesla Model Y uses 2170 batteries ( 21mm in diameter and 70mm in height) manufactured in the Gigafactory Nevada. The battery 2170 is 50% larger in volume than the 18650 and can deliver between 5750 and 6000 mA, while 18650 only delivers 3000 mA.

The nominal voltage is 360 V DC.

The battery management system is similar to that used by the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S, and Tesla Model X and achieves a longer battery life than vehicles that have a passive air cooling system.

Battery preconditioning on the way to a supercharger (Tesla fast charger) is achieved by operating the engine inefficiently to produce enough heat for the battery to reach the optimum temperature at the time of charging.


AC Charging

The integrated charger allows a charging power of up to 11 kW.

Standard comes with a connector ( Tesla Mobile Connector ) that allows charging up to 3 kW in domestic socket and 3.7 kW with the 16A industrial blue adapter.

It also has a Type 2 connector as standard that allows charging up to 11 kW in public chargers and powerwalls .

The Tesla Model Y’s charging system is capable of charging anywhere in the world because it adapts to all kinds of voltages and amperes. This gives you more freedom for travel.

In Europe it has a CCS Combo connector.

DC Fast Charging

The basic model was equipped as standard for fast charging (supercharging) of up to 250 kW on Tesla superchargers or other fast charger networks.

In March 2019 Tesla announced the Supercharger V3 version in which using 1 MW PowerPacks and liquid-cooled cables, it achieved recharge powers of up to 250 kW on each pole, achieving an range recovery rate of up to 1600 km (1,000 miles) per hour of recharging. In March 2019, there was an update with which it conditions the temperature of the battery when the vehicle is routed to a supercharger so that the average charging time is reduced by 25%.

In 2012 Tesla started the installation of superchargers. In April 2020, Tesla had 1,870 fast-charging stations worldwide with 16,585 charging points.


Elon Musk announced that Model Y would be 10% larger than Model 3, but its precise dimensions were not known until the first deliveries in March 2020.

The length is 4,751 mm. The width is 2,129 mm with the mirrors extended and 1,978 mm with the mirrors folded. The height is 1,624 mm. The wheelbase is 2,891 mm.

The height from the ground is 167 mm.

Size comparison, Model 3 vs Model Y

The weight of the Model Y LR AWD and the Performance is 2,003 kg (4,416 lbs). The counterpart versions of the Model 3 weigh 1,847 kg (4,072 lbs), which is 8% less.

Heat pump and octovalve

In the previous vehicles Tesla used electric heating elements, which in the Model 3 have a power of 7 kW. The advantage is that they heat a lot and very fast, but at the cost of reducing range at low temperatures. In the Tesla Model Y a sophisticated heat pump system with an eightfold valve (octovalve) was designed. Using PCB techniques ( Printed Circuit Board ) the heat exchanger was designed that would have been physically impossible to perform with the usual means. It uses a local loop for quick activation and to extend the usable temperature range.

The heat pumps work on the reverse air conditioning: capture heat from the outside and introduced inside. Compared to electrical resistances, they have a 3 times better efficiency coefficient up to temperatures of around -3 ° C where they can no longer capture enough heat from the environment. In September 2018, Tesla registered a patent through which the heat pump compressor and / or the blower can operate inefficiently, producing losses in the form of heat, which are carried into the interior of the passenger compartment. This prevents the Model Y from having to use high-consumption electric resistors for heating, which would harm its range. Elon Musk stated that Model Y, which is 10% larger and 8% heavier than Model 3, achieves a range similar to that of Model 3. Like an Easter egg in hardware, the eightfold valve ( octovalve ) is embossed with a cartoon of an octopus with the starry symbol of a snowflake.


The versions with two dual motors have a front induction electric motor and another synchronous rear motor with permanent magnet. Both motors are water-cooled.


It has an electrically actuated rack and pinion steering depending on speed. It has a turning radius of 12.1 m.



It has 4 disc brakes. ABS anti-lock braking system with electronic braking force distribution and integrated stability control.

The regenerative brake is an electric brake that starts acting as soon as your foot is off the accelerator. The regenerative brake has two positions: Standard and Low. Driving can be done with a pedal so that the car comes to a complete stop when your foot is off the gas. With normal driving the brake pads and discs do not wear out because the main braking is done by the regenerative electric brake.

The parking brake acts electrically on the rear brakes.


Mount 19, 20 and 21 inch wheels depending on versions.

With 19-inch wheels, it mounts 255 / 45R19 tires.

With 20-inch wheels, it mounts 255 / 40R20 tires.

With the 21-inch wheels, it mounts 255 / 35R21 tires at the front and 275 / 35R21 at the rear.

OTA (Over The Air Updates)

The Tesla Model Y can perform over the air software updates without having to take the vehicle to the workshop. They are similar to those made by smartphones with their operating system or applications. The Tesla Model Y inherits software enhancements that were incorporated into the Tesla Model 3 in the past.

The Consumer Reports association tested its Tesla Model 3 and obtained a stopping distance of 97 km / h at 0 km / h of 46.3 m (152 ft), which is very high for its category.

In less than a week of that, Tesla launched an update modifying the ABS braking system software that lowered the braking distance by 14% from 46.3m to 40.5m. This improvement in braking distance by means of over the air update was the first to be done in a series car.

In October 2018, users were able to upgrade to version 9 which had the following improvements:

  • Remote updates started from the mobile phone.
  • Possibility of recording the video signal from the front camera to a USB flash drive acting as a DVR ( Digital Video Recorder ).
  • Calendar application integrated with the smartphone calendar.
  • Energy application that shows the past, present and projected consumption.
  • Web navigator.
  • Application that shows the image of the rear camera.
  • Activation of the 8 cameras to visualize the surrounding vehicles and blind spots.
  • Scroll to the left of the navigation guidance panel. This request was made by many users.
  • Atari games: Missile Command , Asteroids , Lunar Lander and Centipede.

In the 2018, with the V9 version update, Tesla increased the regenerative braking force to improve the driving experience and to increase the amount of energy injected into the battery when decelerating. In December 2018, Tesla included a fart app to play pranks.

In February 2019 Tesla added Sentry Mode with the ability for car cameras to detect potential threats, record them on a USB stick, trigger the alarm, and send an alert to the owner’s mobile.

It also incorporated Dog Mode in which you can leave a pet inside the vehicle with the climate system at a comfortable temperature and a warning message to pedestrians on the screen. This mode was added to the 2016 Cabin Overheat Protection, which when the car is turned off, allows the vehicle to maintain a safe temperature for hours.

In March 2019 Tesla announced an update for all Model 3s that increased the peak power by 5% and for the Model 3 Performance an increase in top speed of up to 260 km / h (162 mph).

In March 2019, it launched an update with which it conditions the temperature of the battery when the vehicle is routed to a supercharger so that the average charging time is reduced by 25%. It also allowed V3 supercharging of up to 250 kW. In March 2019 an update for the Tesla Model 3 in Europe added the Dynamic Brake Lights feature with which the brake lights flash rapidly on hard braking and once the vehicle has been brought to a halt. Stopped, the hazard lights are activated until the accelerator is pressed or deactivated with the corresponding button.

In September 2019, Tesla released version 10 with the following improvements:

  • Tesla Theater: While parked and connected to WiFi, you can watch YouTube and Netflix videos.
  • Caraoke: The lyrics of the karaoke songs are displayed in sync with the music. The service is provided by the web services company Stingray Karaoke.
  • Environment display improvements: More objects and lines are displayed around the vehicle. You can zoom and rotate the display temporarily.
  • Automatic lane change: Improved display showing future vehicle position.
  • Feeling lucky, Feeling hungry: In the browser, these buttons are added that link to nearby places of interest or restaurants.
  • Map improvements: By clicking on a point of interest, more information appears and you can call or visit the associated website. The distance to the point also appears.
  • Sentry Mode improvements: The old video recordings will be deleted on the USB when used space exceeds 5 GB.
  • Joe mode: It allows reducing the level of audible warnings to minimize inconvenience to passengers, especially children.
  • Improvements in downloading updates: The downloaded version and the installation progress are displayed.
  • Game Cuphead: It can be played by connecting an XBox controller to the USB connector.
  • Smart Summon: For users with FSD (Total Autonomous Driving) it allows to summon the vehicle from the APP in a parking lot up to 50 meters away so that the vehicle can autonomously go to the position indicated.
  • Spotify: The Spotify service in North America is added. In Europe it had been available for several years.

In November 2019, Tesla released a software update that increased power, performance and acceleration by 5% after optimizing the electric motor control by software. Added the Scheduled Departure function through which you can program the time when the load will reach the indicated limit. The Automatic Navigation function starts the usual route at that time in the browser or the route to the destination scheduled in the calendar. Offered the option to drive with a foot pedal so that when your foot is off the gas the car decelerates and stops.

In April 2020, a software update added a viewfinder to review on-screen videos recorded by cameras while driving or in sentinel mode. Also added the ability to see in the browser whether a supercharger (fast charger) is out of order or with limited power. On vehicles with FSD HW3 the display was improved by adding traffic lights, stop signs and traffic cones.

Service and maintenance

The user manual specifies the mandatory maintenance intervals:

  • Check the brake fluid every 2 years and change it if necessary.
  • Change the cabin filter every 2 years.
  • Change the air conditioning desiccant every 6 years.

Maintenance costs are very low because, unlike internal combustion cars, it does not require oil changes, belts, spark plugs, or fuel filters. With normal driving the brake pads and discs do not wear out because the main braking is done by the regenerative electric brake.

Many of the services and repairs that do not require a lift are performed by mobile mechanics who travel with a van to the place where the owner is.


Production of the Tesla Model Y began at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. Production also began at Gigafactory Shanghai in China and is scheduled to begin in Giga Berlin next year.

On March 9, 2020, Tesla produced its one millionth vehicle, including Tesla Roadster, Model S, Model 3 and Model X, and became the first electric car manufacturer to surpass China’s BYD. The first deliveries of the Tesla Model Y occurred on March 13, 2020.

Easter eggs

Tesla vehicles include Easter Eggs – hidden or undocumented messages, features, or functions included as tributes, winks, or pranks in a computer program or video game.

To access the main ones press the T icon at the top of the screen and in the “About your Tesla” window swipe down to open the Easter egg drawer. The drawer also opens automatically after a few seconds without sliding.

The Tesla Model Y incorporates the Tesla Emissions Testing Mode that produces fart sounds in any of the seats and can be programmed to produce them when you turn your turn signal.

If the name of the vehicle is changed to Patsy, Rabbit of Caerbannog, Mr. Creosote, Biggus Dickus or Unladen Swallow , Cupid’s foot appears and flatulence sounds in reference to Monty Python.

Since October 2018, all Tesla vehicles incorporate the old Atari games : Missile Command, Asteroids , Lunar Lander and Centipede.

Since September 2018, Teslas with Autopilot and FSD (full autonomous capacity) can select Mad Max Mode as the most aggressive for automated lane changes. It is a tribute to the film Mad Max (1979) directed by George Miller.

In Tesla vehicles when Sentry Mode is activated, the HAL 9000 computer image from the 2001 film A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick appears. In an April 2020 software update, it was replaced with a similar animated image.

Sentinel mode can be activated with the Keep Summer Safe voice command in reference to Rick and Morty season 2 episode 6, in which Rick orders his vehicle to protect Summer (sister Morty’s), which stays inside the vehicle.

When the name of the vehicle is changed to “42” the message “Life, the Universe and Everything” appears. In the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book, Douglas Adams asked to the supercomputer Deep Thought what the meaning of life and responds after 7.5 million years, “42”.

Activating the Autopilot lever 4 times shows the road in rainbow colors. It is a reference to the Mario Kart game for Nintendo 64.

Rainbow Easter Egg

When the battery is charged for a range of 121 km and you open the app on the phone, the battery icon appear multiple references to the 1985 movie; Back to the Future. All this Easter egg happens within the mobile APP. The “Time Circuits On” dialog box appears. Make sure that the plutonium fuel is inserted into the reactor chamber and press Yes to continue. After viewing the Easter egg you can click on the battery icon and the dialog box appears: “Time circuits off. Be sure to reset the clocks to justify the temporary shift.”

The car’s name changes to Outatime (no time) as the DeLorean DMC-12’s license plate.

The radioactive symbol is overlaid on the battery icon by the DeLorean DMC-12 plutonium fuel.

The range of 121 km changes to 1.21 GW, which is the energy necessary to start the journey in time.

The vehicle status changes to Time Circuits On .

The car image changes to a gray Tesla Model X with the seagull doors open because the Delorean had seagull doors and was made of stainless steel.

The loading menu changes to Fuel Chamber: current output 300R (R for Roentgen , which is a unit of the amount of ionizing radiation). It could also refer to the 300 replicas of the DeLorean manufactured in 2016.

Location changes to S Asuza Ave 1600, Rowland Heights, CA , which is the address of the mall parking lot where Marty begins his time travel.

Schedule service changes on November 5, 1955, at 06:00 , which is the date the Doc invented the time machine.

The vehicle model changes to Model X P88D, because a speed of 88 mph is required to start the journey in time.

The odometer changes to 53208 km (33062 miles), which is what the DeLorean set when starting time travel.

The VIN (VIN number) changes to SCEDT26T6BD005261, which would be a 1981 DeLorean VIN number without the check digit. The last four digits 5261 backwards give 1625, which in mmddyy notation can be read as January 6, 1925, which is the birth date of John DeLorean .

Mars Easter Egg:
If you press the Tesla logo for 5 seconds and enter the code “Mars,” the screen shows the surface of Mars instead of Earth. The surface moves as the car moves like a normal GPS would. The arrow representing the vehicle is replaced by an image of the Mars Rover. Pressing the T icon and “About your Tesla” displays the image of SpaceX’s interplanetary spacecraft, which was unveiled in 2016 as part of its interplanetary transport system. The ship was redesigned and renamed as Big Falcon Rocket and later SpaceX Starship.

If you press the phone icon for three seconds the text changes to Ahoy-Hoy , which was the phrase proposed by the inventor of the phone, Alexander Graham Bell, to answer a phone.

If you press the Tesla logo 3 times a sketchpad appears. When activated, the screen becomes a sketchpad where you can draw and send the result to Tesla. Drawing options include brush and eraser, color control, brush width control, ability to undo errors, and a paint fill option. When you use the submit button, a box asks “Are you sure you want Tesla to judge your masterpiece?” In a nod to the Matrix movie the options are shown by a blue button that says, “No, the world is not ready for my art” and a blue button that says, “Yes, I am an artist!”

Campfire Easter Egg

Pressing About Tesla and dragging down, a basket of Easter eggs appears, where you can select the Romance Mode, showing a bonfire, increasing heating and plays romantic songs like Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye .

As Easter egg in the eightfold valve hardware ( octovalve ) has embossed printed a cartoon of an octopus with a starry snowflake symbol.

Author: Nabeel K
Email: nabeel@wheelsjoint.com