Looks like we have us another mystery courtesy of that most mysterious of automakers. Tesla’s website no longer offers what had been least expensive Model Y trim, the Standard Range AWD that started at $49,230 after the $1,390 destination charge but before incentives. The car just joined the configurator in April of this year. There are two Model Y variants available now, the Long Range that starts at $51,880 and the Performance that starts at $55,580. The automaker didn’t explain the omission nor answer questions about it, leaving lots of speculation to fill the vacuum. The reigning theory concerns batteries and production capacity. The Model Y Standard Range AWD was the only trim built at Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory and the only trim to use Tesla’s 4680 battery cells. Many believe that with the Cybertruck inching its way toward series production at the same Texas facility, Tesla wants to devote resources to the enormously popular truck.
As Drive Tesla Canada noted, there are two intriguing aspects of that suggestion. First, a Tesla powertrain VP said the Cybertruck will use 4680 cells with a new chemistry enabling more range and efficiency, so the Model Y shutdown could portend a battery facility changeover as well. Second, even though we’re seeing more Cybertruck prototypes out and about, the stainless steel wonder doesn’t look close to being a threat to Gigafactory production capacity.
Other theories wonder if Tesla is, like many automakers, just culling the trim that pulls in the smallest profit, or perhaps trying to create more MSRP distance between the Model Y crossover and the Model 3 sedan. Of course, the theories and their counterpoints are all guesses. The Model 3 change follows a similar move with the Model S and Model X earlier this month — also unexplained. Tesla dropped the Standard Range versions of the sedan and falcon-doored SUV from the online Design Studio. The S and X can only be had in either Dual-Motor AWD or Plaid guise for the moment.
The Texas plant has been down for scheduled maintenance. Perhaps the model will return when the plant gets running again, or we might need to wait until the Cybertruck debuts to find out what’s going on. Until then, the only way to get a Model Y Standard Range AWD is to source one in Tesla’s inventory or on the used market.