Here’s a brief comparison of the Model Y and Model 3 for newbie electric car buyers just getting their feet wet — reflecting the recent $3,000 price cut for the Model Y.
*Pricier Model 3 configurations offer up to 322 miles of range.
**The Model 3 with rear seats folded has “almost comparable cargo capacity [to the Model y], not as bad as those numbers from the owner’s manuals suggest,” according to Motor Trend.
The Model Y is based on the Model 3 and shares 75% of the parts, according to Tesla. And to the untrained eye, they can be hard to distinguish.
Aside from the physical design differences…there’s more cargo space and ground clearance on the Model Y. And you sit higher in the Model Y because the Y’s seats are on risers, which makes it easier to get in and get out of the car compared to the Model 3.
The Model Y also uses a more efficient heat pump versus the resistive heating system in the Model 3.
And the Model Y is taller, wider, and longer than the Model 3. It’s only a matter of inches (e.g., the Y is about 7 inches taller) but it can make a difference for things like headroom.
Both the Model 3 and Model Y are made in America in Fremont, Calif.
The Model 3 was the best-selling car in California — the hottest electric car market in the U.S. — in the first quarter of 2020, beating both the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. Since the Model Y is just beginning to ramp up production, the jury is still out but CEO Elon Musk has said that he expects it to outsell the Model 3.
—Model Y: CUV (crossover utility vehicle)
—Model 3: sedan
Production start date:
—Model Y: January 2020
—Model 3: mid-2017
—2020 Tesla Model Y Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range: base price: $49,990* (cheapest version currently available / price just reduced from $52,990)
—2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus base price: $37,990 (cheapest model)
Cheaper Model Y version:
The cheapest Model Y now available isn’t cheap. A cheaper version of the Model Y will eventually be offered, according to Tesla.
Ground clearance (think: light off-roading):
—Model Y: 6.6 inches
—Model 3: 5.5 inches
4 years / 50,000 miles for both the Model 3 and Model Y.
—Model Y will offer a third row of seats, allowing it to seat seven passengers ($3,000 option)
—The Model 3 Performance offers 0-60 in 3.2 seconds for thousands of dollars less than the Model Y Performance (which is a plodding 3.5 seconds by comparison).