Skip to main content

The Tesla Model Y was once the quintessential electric SUV. Many could argue that the EV has fallen from grace, but it made a huge impact on the industry nonetheless. What, if anything, is so special about the Tesla Model Y electric SUV?

What’s so special about the Tesla Model Y?

A red 2022 Tesla Model Y electric SUV is driving on the road.
The 2022 Tesla Model Y | Tesla

The Tesla Model Y is the forefather of the modern electric SUV. It paved the way for models like the Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4. Electric vehicles were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are today just a few years ago.

The Model Y is a best-selling model for the American electric vehicle company. The Model Y and Model 3 quickly became the company’s most popular models. They were the most affordable Tesla EVs by far.

The Tesla Model Y taught Americans that an affordable electric SUV could be capable. Tesla models come with several brand-specific features and an infotainment system that’s tough to compete with. The Model S may be the brand’s flagship, but the Model Y is much more accessible and, thus, much more impactful.

Tesla’s Model Y changed the game for many drivers. The electric SUV has left a lasting impression on the automobile industry, but its rise to popularity isn’t all sunshine and roses.

The Tesla Model Y is facing stiff competition

A black 2022 Tesla Model Y electric SUV is charging on the street.
The 2022 Tesla Model Y | Tesla

The Model Y opened the door for other automakers to produce and sell electric vehicles. Naturally, the Model Y became the SUV to beat, and challengers have bested the electric SUV in more ways than one. Multiple price fluctuations and the supply chain crisis didn’t help the SUV maintain its top spot either.

The Tesla Model Y was once close to $40,000. Today Americans can only order Long Range and Performance trims. The Model Y Long Range starts at a whopping $62,990. Ouch.

The fact that the federal electric vehicle tax inventive has been phased out for models purchased after 2019 doesn’t help the EV’s affordability. There are definite perks to being the first to market, but the EV space plays by a different set of rules than the rest of the industry. Popularity means that the federal tax incentive will be phased out sooner for many electric vehicles.

The Tesla Model Y is no longer affordable for the average American consumer, even by electric SUV standards. The popular Hyundai Ioniq 5’s final trim level starts at $51,100. After tax incentives the final trim level is closer to $43,600. That’s a huge difference from the Tesla Model Y’s starting price.

Will the Tesla Model Y ever relive its glory days?

Two electric SUVs are driving on the road.
The 2022 Tesla Model Y | Tesla

The electric vehicle industry is still in its infancy in many ways. That being said, the Model Y nameplate is more seasoned than most of its current rivals. It should continue to sell well, but its opponents are rapidly gaining ground.

The VW ID.4 already has the upper hand in Europe. The year 2021 was dominated by the Mach-E in America. 2022 seems to belong to the Ioniq 5.

The Model Y may have seen its best days unless the company can make an affordable entry-level trim available to consumers. Tom’s Guide claims an affordable Tesla hatchback is on the way. Electric vehicles save money on gas, but it’s hard to justify buying a $60K EV to save money. The Model Y may be great, but it just isn’t a feasible option for many Americans today.

Read more about how the Model Y fares against the Volkswagen ID.4 internationally in the next article below.

RELATED: How Much Does a 2021 Tesla Model Y Cost?