Tesla launches long-awaited Model Y Long Range RWD in the US

Tesla has launched a new entry-level variant of the Model Y in the United States, one that was originally supposed to be built when the electric SUV was first unveiled in 2019. As with a number of Model Y updates recently, this new variant is unfortunately not available in Canada.

On Friday night Tesla updated their website to add the Long Range (LR) Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) variant to the Design Studio, replacing the previous entry-level Model Y RWD. The new variant offers the most range in the Model Y lineup, an estimated 320 miles (515km) when equipped with the standard 19″ Gemini wheels. That is a full 60 miles (96km) more than the outgoing RWD variant, and 10 miles (16km) more than the Model Y LR.

For that extra range, you will have to pay more, but not much. The new Model Y LR RWD is priced only $2,000 more than the previous RWD variant, starting at US$44,990. It is also eligible for the full US$7,500 tax credit, bringing the effective price down to US$37,490 for eligible buyers.

The new Model Y LR RWD has a top speed of 135mph (217km/h) and a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds, virtually identical to the previous RWD of 135mph and 6.6 seconds.

The newly introduced Quicksilver paint is not an option for the Model Y LR RWD.

Credit: Tesla

There is also good news for recent buyers of the previous RWD variant. According to CEO Elon Musk, those cars have the same battery, but the range is software locked. Musk says Tesla is working through the regulatory approvals to allow these owners to pay around US$1,500 to US$2,000 to unlock an additional 40-60 miles of range.

The introduction of the Model Y LR RWD is a long time coming. You might recall that this variant was included on the night the Model Y was first unveiled in 2019. However it was never built and later cancelled in 2021, with reservation holders forced to either change their configuration or cancel and receive a refund.

After years of hearing nothing more, it made a surprise debut just last month in Europe. However, it is slightly different than its North American counterpart with a faster 0-60mph. The range appears to be almost the same, coming in at 600km (373 miles), but based on the more generous WLTP rating schedule.

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