Tesla drops the single-motor, Standard Range RWD version of Model Y that started at $39,990, making the $48,990 Long Range version the least expensive trim.
The Standard Range RWD Model Y had only been on sale since the start of January 2021 before being cut.
Tesla also dropped the $35,000 Model 3 after just a few months of sales—and after promoting it for years as an example of an affordable EV.
Abrupt changes in Tesla model pricing are nothing new, but this particular one may have just set a record for the shortest time a vehicle variant was available. Tesla introduced a Standard Range RWD version of the Model Y during the first week of January 2021, offering a range of 244 miles and a starting price of $41,990. That price was reduced to $39,990 just a few days ago. The debut of this model was itself a bit of a surprise; Elon Musk had publicly hinted months prior that the company was unlikely to offer such a variant, as he felt that its range would be "unacceptably low" to be competitive. Even so, the Standard Range AWD version of the Model Y became available for ordering on Tesla's website.
That single-motor variant is now gone with no explanation given for its cancellation, which means that the least expensive Model Y is now the Long Range model that starts at $48,990. It's a not-insignificant hike for those wanting to get into a Model Y, but it does offer a range of 326 miles for that $9,000 premium.
It's still unclear just how many examples Tesla managed to sell in that six-week window of availability, but sales alone may have been enough motivation for killing off the variant. Tesla's desire to drive down production costs by reducing assembly line differentiation may have also played a part.
The most significant consequence of the move is that Tesla will now have a much harder time competing against newcomers like the Chevy Bolt EUV, Volkswagen ID.4, and the Nissan Ariya, all arriving this year. These three models will all have starting prices well under the $50,000 mark.
The departure of the cheapest Model Y mirrors that of the short-lived $35,000 Model 3, which was available online from February through April of 2019, after which it was hidden offered only through Tesla stores or over the phone—if you even knew to ask for it.
Should Tesla have kept a cheaper version of the Model Y on the menu, even if it had a smaller range? Let us know in the comments below.