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A cheaper Tesla Model Y could be on the way

Tesla model y: lede
(Image credit: Tesla)

Update: The standard range Model Y exists, but so far the only way to get it is from existing inventory if you live near Giga Texas

There could soon be a cheaper Tesla Model Y on the way, for those who don't want to spend the $59,900 required to get into the Long Range AWD version. But there's a catch — this one isn’t set to offer quite as much range.

The folks at Electrek (opens in new tab) have spotted a new EPA filing that appears to show a version of the Model Y that doesn't currently exist. Dubbed the "2022 Tesla Model Y AWD," from the outside the car looks indistinguishable from all the other Model Ys Tesla has produced.

The key difference here is that it supposedly has a much lower range than the other two Model Y variants on sale — offering a total of 279 miles. The current Model Y Long Range AWD tops out at 330 miles, while the Model Y Performance AWD manages a slightly lower 303 miles — a consequence of packing in all that power. 

This supposed new version sits at the bottom of the pile, and will presumably have a lower price to match.

What makes all of this so interesting is the fact Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously killed off the standard range Model Y because it wasn't deemed to have enough miles in it — up to 244 miles on a single charge. While not a terrible figure, relative to some cheaper EVs on the market, Musk declared (opens in new tab) that anything under 250 miles of EPA-tested range was “unacceptably low.”

Tesla removed the car from sale because of that weaker range. Could this new Model Y be set to make up the difference?

We already know that Tesla has lined up the Model Y to use the new 4680 battery cells, just like the Tesla Cybertruck, and a new structural battery pack. Though it isn’t confirmed that this exact model will be the car to receive the new battery tech. It would make sense, however, since the 4680 cells are designed to pack more capacity into a smaller space than previous Tesla batteries.

Pricing hasn't been hinted at yet, although it stands to reason that the lower range will also mean a lower entry point for those looking to pick up a  Model Y without spending quite so much money.

While lower than the ranges offered by other Model Y cars, 279 miles would still be more than enough for a lot of people. That alone could make it a popular EV, so long as the price is right.