I drove the Tesla Model Y for a week and changed my order

Last week, I had the opportunity to live with a Model Y for a week, ahead of them going on sale next month. Having seen the Model Y announced more than 3 years ago, its been a long wait for the mid-sized sedan to arrive in Australia, but thankfully the wait is over.

Just 3 weeks ago the Tesla Design Studio / Order page on their website went live for Australia. Since then, we’ve seen the delivery window for the Model Y push out to Feb – May 2023, showing incredibly strong demand locally.

While this may have surprised some (even Elon Musk), when we consider that the mid-sized SUV vehicle segment regularly accounts for the second-highest sales (according to VFACTS), sitting just behind our love for 4×4 Utes.

The mid-sized SUV just offers the space and storage that families need, be it on the daily school drop-off, or the weekend getaway, it’s easy to see why this is a favorite for Aussies.

The Model 3 has been popular in Australia and many families like me will consider what’s happening on the other side of the garage. Many have a mid-sized SUV that is ripe for replacement by the Model Y, offering an opportunity to become a dual-EV household.

When the order page went live, my wife and I discussed our options and ultimately landed on placing an order for a Model Y Performance. While the acceleration is lost on her, the bigger battery was certainly inviting, offering up to 514km (WLTP) vs the Model Y with 455km (WLTP).

After having lived with the Model Y for a week, we have now changed our order from a Performance to a Standard Range Model Y.. now here’s the reason for the switch.

What I accomplished after driving the Model Y is the current daily range available is 435km, enabled by the ability to charge the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery to 100% daily without consequences to battery longevity.

This battery chemistry differs significantly from the battery in my Freemont-built Model 3 Performance from 2019, which Tesla recommends to keep between 10 and 90% charge. Of course, you can charge to 100% occasionally but your daily range is really 90% of the overall capacity. After 3 years, a 90% charge now offers me around 410kms of range.

When you consider my wife’s Model Y has a smaller battery pack, and is larger and heavier, I was impressed to see a real-world range estimate of 435kms at 100% state of charge.

When we thought hard about the practical range we need, understanding charging infrastructure is improving and longer trips are rare, the Standard Range would actually do the job for us.

Also playing into the decision was the price, that extra 59km of range difference between the SR and Perf (unfortunately no LR on offer in Australia), is the difference between a driveway cost from $78,114 to $107,759. That’s a $29,645 delta, meaning every additional km of range costs $502.46.

Naturally, the costs of the Performance is more than just the battery, but given the performance doesn’t appeal to my wife, the additional motor, meant nothing, the lowered suspension wasn’t appealing and the 21″ rims look nice, but are far more prone to damage than even the 20″ rims on the car review.

What we ultimately settled on was to go with the Model Y (SR) and spend some of those savings on getting a much better car, still with great range. We selected a Model Y, the Red Multi-Coat paint, 20″ Induction wheels, White Interior and the newly added Enhanced Autopilot.

Thankfully Tesla honored the original pricing, despite a price rise occurring between placing our order and changing it. This meant we have a much better car and still walk away with a price tag that’s $20k less than the Performance.

Probably the biggest evidence of how the Model Y could accommodate a real-life trip was when I returned the car. I charged at the Supercharger in Wodonga, then drove to Cobram to see my parents. From there, I drove to Euroa to have lunch and charge (spent 29mins and A$5.82 with Chargefox), before heading to Melbourne and made it there with plenty to spare.

Over the course of the week, I drove more than 1,300km in the Model Y and walked away from the experience being surprised by just how great the entry-level model really is. Sure it doesn’t have AWD, a crazy 0-100km/hr time or front fog lights.. but almost everything you know and love about Tesla is there.

Check out Tesla if you’re interested in the Model Y.

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