Although the formal arrival of the new Tesla Model Y electric compact crossover isn’t expected until the end of the year or early 2022, there’s already a handful of examples mulling around Kiwi roads.
Multiple Model Ys have been spotted by keen electric car fans in Wanaka, each of them being left-hand drive examples. Carbon zero electricity provider Ecotricity has documented two sightings so far.
One of these was observed at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds. This is where brands from around the world send new vehicles to test their mettle (or metal?) in cold temperatures. Tesla has tested numerous models at the facility in the past, including the Model 3.
Ecotricity has suggested that the brand could be putting its new 4680 battery to the test in the inclement conditions. These new battery cells are destined to be utilised in the Model Y, as well as in the Cybertruck and Semi.
“We are making great progress in 4680 cells, but there is a tremendous amount of innovation that we’re packing into that 4680 cell,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said of the tech, during the brand’s Q2 conference call.
“It’s not simply a sort of minor improvements on state of the art. There are… And we went through this on the factory sell date, really dozens of, half a dozen major improvements and dozens of small improvements.”
The Model Y isn’t the only electric model yet to launch here that’s been recently spotted. Rivian’s R1-T electric ute and R1-S electric SUV have also been spotted winter testing. The start-up brand has also brought over its RCV delivery van.
The first right-hand drive Model Ys recently debuted in Asia. It’s tipped that markets like New Zealand will get a line-up similar to that of the current Model 3; featuring a Standard Range Plus variant, a Long Range model, and a Performance model.
With Model 3 pricing having recently been further reduced locally, it’s expected that the entry level Model Y will also be priced underneath the government’s $80,000 Clean Car Discount threshold.