The cheapest Model Y is no more – Tesla introduces Long Range RWD for $45k

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Tesla has introduced a new variant of the Model Y – the Long Range Rear-wheel drive – and axed the previous RWD model, which had previously been the cheapest Model Y ever in the US.

Tesla’s prices have been doing their usual fluctuating lately, with the Model Y getting a $2k discount just two weeks ago. That discount brought it to equivalent to its lowest price ever, at least when tax credits are included.

But now Tesla has axed that model, the standard range RWD Model Y, and replaced it with a longer range model for $2k more.

Tesla updated its website to add the new Long Range RWD Model Y, starting at a base price of $44,990. But, like the last model, it also qualifies for the US EV tax credit, so if you qualify for that, you can get it for $37.5k instead.

The LR RWD model started shipping early last month in Europe, so it’s not a big surprise to see it come to America now.

The new model is much the same as the old model, but has a larger battery. Instead of the 260-mile range of the SR RWD, the LR RWD comes with 320 miles of range. That’s quite a jump for just $2k more, though for people who don’t need the range, the lower base price might have been nice to retain.

That said – prior to April 19, the Model Y SR RWD sold for the same price as the LR RWD today. During the first quarter of the year, Tesla did run some temporary discounts, but basically, among the price fluctuations, you are now just getting a longer-range car for about the same price as you might have paid at certain points in the past few months. Not too shabby.

Along with these changes, Tesla also added the new Quicksilver paint option for $2,000, but it’s only available on Long Range AWD and Performance models.

This color is a lighter gray/silver, but with a lot of depth to it. It’s been out in Europe since 2022, and is quite a good looking color by all accounts (if you’re into that sort of thing). This is the first it’s come to the US – though some inventory cars have been available in the color for the last week or so.

Tesla also says that owners who bought the 260-mile battery actually got a car that came with additional hidden battery capacity. Tesla has done this before in the name of manufacturing simplicity – produced a single battery pack, but locked some to lower amounts of range through software.

Tesla plans to offer software unlocks which will allow owners who bought the 260-mile SR RWD to add an additional 40-60 miles of range, depending on which battery cells they have, for an additional $1,500-2,000. But this plan is pending regulatory approval, so stay tuned for when that might happen.

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