Tesla Model Y
Tell me Y
At first glance, it is immediately apparent that the Tesla Model Y is an electric car. The Model Y doesn't have a long hood with a large, complex engine underneath. Instead, the front is short and low. Therefore, the Model Y does not have the blunt nose and unyielding appearance that is characteristic of an SUV. However, the high shoulder line, extra ground clearance and large wheels compensate.
The rear is also not straight and angular like a traditional SUV. The rear window is flat, and that has two advantages. It improves streamline, and because the tailgate opens, including the back window, the luggage compartment is easily accessible. The disadvantage of this construction: the view in the interior mirror is limited.
The Model Y shares 75% of the parts with Tesla's mid-sized sedan: the Model 3. Nevertheless, the Y is easier to get into and offers a higher seating position, as usual with an SUV. The front seats are good, but it is noticeable that the (lumbar) support is not as sophisticated as with some other brands on long journeys.
The Model Y and Model 3 have the same wheelbase, but legroom in the back is much better because the Y takes advantage of its height. Compared to similar SUVs from other brands, Tesla also scores well in head and legroom. The build quality of the test car built in China is fine; Tesla has shown substantial improvement in this area over the years.
A minimalist design of the cabin is currently the trend. Car manufacturers reduce the number of buttons and levers as much as possible and operate all functions via a central screen. However, Tesla takes this up a notch. The dashboard has no buttons, no clocks behind the steering wheel and even air vents or a glove compartment are not visible.
The Model Y's "dashboard" consists of a single wooden strip and a centrally placed display. All functions are controlled via this screen and two rotary knobs on the steering wheel. That may seem like an extreme choice, but it soon becomes apparent that Tesla has thought very carefully about this concept. Moreover, the software has been so refined that many people wonder why the traditional brands still opt forÂ a complicated approach.
At Tesla, innovation is not limited to the electric drive train but also in the equipment. Of course, the Model Y offers a decent audio, communication, and navigation system, but it likes to go a little further than usual with each of those functions. The audio system has a clear and powerful sound. In addition to radio, it also offers Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Deezer and other online services by default. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not supported. Tesla made this choice because integrating third-party software would hinder its development speed.
In driver assistance, Tesla is making an exceptional choice: functions still in the experimental phase are already being made available to customers. When switching on the so-called "Auto Pilot", the driver is informed that this is "beta software" and must always maintain control of the car. With that warning in mind, all assistants were activated in, after which the test car demonstrated downright revolutionary technology.
Based on the destination set in the navigation system, the test car independently took an exit on the open road, steered very carefully over a traffic junction, merged onto the next road and gained speed again. Also, when approaching a slower vehicle in front, the Model Y can suggest to overtake it. The driver only needs to confirm by briefly tapping the indicator. Model Y recognizes traffic lights and stops automatically at a red light when using adaptive cruise control.
However, the above sounds better than it actually is. The most complex functions failed often. That's because the so-called "training data" on which the artificially intelligent brain is based comes from America. For example, the computer never suggested going back to the right lane after overtaking because that isn't necessary for America. Also, the computer can get "nervous", to say the least, on the narrow roads in Europe and has no idea how to handle a small roundabout. Then it is up to the driver to take back control.
Nevertheless, version 10.2 of the software is indeed an improvement. Functions regarded as advanced by other brands and therefore often function poorly, are simple for Tesla and work flawlessly. The mobile app that allows to communicate with Tesla via a smartphone is also much more advanced than the competition and thus works quicker, more reliably and more logically.
The self-driving functions are almost revolutionary. If you take the wheel yourself, fewer surprises await. Like any other electric car, the batteries of the Model Y are integrated in the floor. This ensures a low and central centre of gravity and excellent stability.
The Model Y has a relatively firm undercarriage. This means less comfort for passengers on poor road surfaces. However, it gives the driver a more confident feeling. In addition, the direct steering and the firm springs ensure that the Model Y feels less heavy than it actually is (2 tons).
Performance and range
Tesla has made electric cars attractive by, among other things, making them perform better than the average car with a combustion engine. Even though the test car is not an extra fast "Performance" version, performance is sublime. The Model Y distinguishes is quicker than ICE (internal combustion engine) cars and distinguishes itself from other electric vehicles. To lower the barrier to electric driving, most car manufacturers give their electric cars the familiar character of a car with a petrol engine. The Model Y also offers this option, but one can make the response to the power pedal much more intense if so desired. This applies to both accelerating and releasing the throttleÂ (regeneration). Then, the difference with conventional cars is even more significant making the Model Y feel like an even bigger step forward.
The so-called "Long Range" version could cover 500 km on a fully charged battery (507 km according to WLTP measurement) with a predominantly relaxed driving style. Therefore, this difference between theory and practice is much smaller than with other brands.
Charging is possible at all public charging points, fast chargers and Tesla's own charging stations. The latter can be found throughout Europe. At Tesla's own chargers the price per kilowatt hour is lower than with fast chargers, and payment is via Tesla; a charge card is therefore not required. The Model Y can theoretically charge at 250 kW. However, a more meaningful measuring unit appears on the central display: 925 km/h was achieved during this test (in one hour, 925 km extra range). While charging, games can be played on the central screen. Because, Y not?
Tesla distinguishes itself by innovating at lightning speed but was relatively late introducing a medium-sized SUV. Nevertheless, the Model Y clearly clearly distinguishes itself from others. The establishment is building the same SUVs it always produced, but now with electric power. Tesla, on the other hand, dares to innovate in every area.
This starts with the drive. In terms of performance, energy consumption, charging speed and range, it is noticeable that Tesla is even further ahead with electric drive technology. Tesla then innovates with ergonomics, making the Model Y just more practical in daily use.
Finally, Tesla dares to make technology available that is still in the experimental phase. When used correctly and under the right conditions, Tesla is far ahead with self-driving functions. For those who don't want to be part of Tesla's experiments, this is also good news: what's consider advanced for other brands is simple for Tesla and therefore works faster, more accurately and more reliably. In other words: thanks to Tesla's technology this SUV takes a comfortable lead. That's Y!
- Progressive technology
- Energy efficient, fast charging, long-range
- No parcel shelf (but very dark rear windows)
- Poor visibility in interior mirror / small exterior mirrors