Tesla Updates Model Y With Ambient Lighting, New Wheels and Improved Performance in China

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla updates the Model Y in China
Tesla updates the Model Y in China

Tesla China quietly unveiled an upgraded Model Y, showcasing several modifications designed to keep up with the recently revealed Model 3 refresh and the soon-to-be rolling off the production line - Cybertruck. Tesla China made its grand announcement on its official Weibo account, captioning the unveiling as the Model Y's "evolutionary debut."

Not Quite a Refresh, Yet Noteworthy

While the latest tweaks don't qualify the Model Y for a complete refresh label, they narrow the gap between it and the refreshed Model 3 Highland. Potential buyers will now find themselves weighing the merits of the updated Model Y against its all-new Highland.

We are expecting a full refresh for the Model Y, known as Juniper. However, it may be safe to say that the Highland stole the thunder as the Model 3 and Model Y are similar, so that you can guess the upcoming changes for the Model Y.

Changes in This Refresh

Dashboard & Ambient Lighting: The wood veneer trim has been stripped from the Model Y's dash. Replacing it is a textile trim, similar to the new Model 3. Along the dashboard Tesla has introduced RGB ambient lighting - to better match the Model 3. Given that the dashboard remains the same, this begs the question of whether these changes could be retrofitted to the current Model 3 and Model Y.

Wheel Upgrades: Stepping away from the traditional silver, the new Model Y now sports 19-inch black Gemini wheels. These aren't just aesthetically pleasing but also enhance the Model Y RWD's range by approximately 5 miles, taking it to 344 miles by the CLTC standard.

Performance Enhancements: There's more to the new Model Y than meets the eye. The Dual-Motor AWD Long Range version has seen a range uptick of around 17 miles, offering 428 miles on a single charge. Additionally, with a wind resistance coefficient refined to 0.23, the Model Y is a testament to Tesla's commitment to efficiency.

Performance: Tesla has improved the 0 to 100 km/h time of the Model Y as well. According to Tesla, this update will have the Model Y reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds.

FSD Hardware: According to Teslarati, Tesla China's Customer Support team confirmed that the updated Model Y does not include FSD hardware 4.0.

Pricing & Promotional Updates:

The Model Y RWD is priced at RMB 263,900 ($36,742 USD), while the Long Range and Performance variants come in at RMB 299,900 ($41,755 USD) and RMB 349,900 ($48,716), respectively.

In a bid to give new customers added incentives, Tesla China also announced that up until October 31, a referral bonus would also be in play. By leveraging the referral program, new Tesla buyers can get a discount on their final payment and enjoy a 90-day trial period of Enhanced Autopilot.

Although many didn't expect this update to the Model Y, it's not surprising given the excitement around the new Model 3. What this tells us is that the Model Y refresh may not be as close as initially speculated. While these upgrades are visually exciting, they're fairly minor and can be done without major changes to Tesla's production lines. Tesla hopes to narrow the gap between the new Model 3 and the Model Y and prevent buyers from holding out for the refreshed Model Y.

This minor update to the Model Y does not include some of the major updates to the Model 3, such as ventilated seats, improved cabin materials, the new suspension or the blind spot indicator.

As the fourth quarter unfolds, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to Tesla's latest offering and whether this evolutionary debut lives up to its billing.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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