Discontinued Tesla Model Y RWD Can Get 40-60 More Miles Unlocked

In a bold move, Tesla has bid adieu to its entry-level Model Y RWD variant in the U.S., opting instead to unveil a Long-Range RWD iteration of the popular vehicle.

This strategic shift comes hand in hand with an intriguing announcement: the phased-out Tesla Model Y RWD is poised to receive a unique range enhancement option, pending regulatory green lights.

According to insights from Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, the Tesla Model Y RWD, boasting an EPA-certified range of 260 miles, stands to gain an additional 40 to 60 miles of driving distance (“contingent on battery cell specifics”) via an upcoming paid upgrade, priced between $1,500 and $2,000, delivered through over-the-air software updates.

Musk subtly hinted that recent batches of RWD models may have been equipped with higher-capacity battery packs, purposely software-constrained to provide a 260-mile range: “The ‘260-mile’ range Model Ys assembled in recent months harbor untapped potential for an additional $1,500 to $2,000 boost (equating to 40 to 60 miles), depending on battery cell configurations. Regulatory approvals are underway to enable this.”

Effectively, this means that owners opting for the range enhancement will soon enjoy a driving range akin to purchasers of the freshly introduced Tesla Model Y Long Range RWD, estimated at 300-320 miles.

Previously priced at $44,990 (plus $1,640 in obligatory fees), the Tesla Model Y RWD with a 260-mile range experienced a $2,000 reduction to $42,990 in mid-April. Factoring in the recent $7,500 federal tax credit, the effective cost dwindled to $37,130.

Meanwhile, the new Model Y LR AWD commences at $44,990, plus $1,640 in compulsory charges, essentially costing $39,130 post-tax credit.

Musk’s responses to inquiries regarding the rationale behind limiting battery capacity were cryptic, with a curt reply to the question “Why not just give it for free?” being “We have to pay the bills somehow.”

The transition from RWD to Long Range RWD for the Tesla Model Y unveils a meticulously orchestrated plan, suggesting that all Model Ys now boast Long Range batteries. However, variance in battery cells, sourced from multiple suppliers like Panasonic, LG Energy Solution, or others, may account for slight capacity differentials between packs.

Initially, it was speculated that the RWD version was outfitted with LFP batteries upon its October 2023 launch. While this might have been the case initially, logistical factors, perhaps triggered by the $7,500 tax credit stipulations in 2024, potentially prompted Tesla to revert to locally produced 2170-type cylindrical cells.

The decision-making process likely involved careful consideration of various factors, including monitoring developments related to the tax credit, culminating in the eventual revelation of Tesla’s hand.

Notably, customers stand to benefit from a more affordable long-range Tesla Model Y, priced approximately $3,000 lower than the Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD—a significant advantage amidst the price pressures affecting all EVs in 2024.

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