Electric milestone: Tesla defies controversies to build 1,000,000th car
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It's been a long, tough road for Tesla. But, the American firm is starting to reap genuine rewards — and that's been underlined by its latest achievement.
Production of its next model, the compact SUV Model Y, has commenced. And one particular red Model Y is destined to always be that little bit more special than the rest. Cranked out earlier this week by Tesla's Fremont manufacturing plant in California, this red Model Y is the one millionth vehicle Tesla has produced.
It's somewhat curious that it's the Model Y that brings up the milestone, given it perhaps represents the biggest departure in the brand's line-up.
More than any vehicle before it, including the Model 3, it's a product designed to appease market demand. Not just a 'low price' EV, it's also fashioned into a commercially sensible EV form. Some are tipping it to be the most likely vehicle to pivot Tesla towards making a consistent profit, not just in its popular silhouette but also in that it's based on a modular, shared platform.
The Model Y sports a 480km range in its quickest trim; the Performance. The Long Range AWD and Long Range RWD, meanwhile, pack a capable range of 505km and 540km, respectively.
Beyond that, there isn't much that's particularly unique about the Model Y relative to other Teslas. No Falcon Doors, no aluminium panels, no bulletproof glass ... just a more practical shape mated to the brand's most successful platform. The lack of whizz-bang gimmickry reportedly had investors concerned at launch, but if it becomes a grand money spinner one expects those investers to eat a little humble pie.
Model Ys will begin shipping to owners in the US this month — two quarters earlier than initially expected. This means there's plenty more time in the year to sell vehicles beyond the group who put down pre-orders. Right-hand drive delivery times to markets like New Zealand are still to be confirmed.