Tesla Reveals Model Y Has Extra Range—If You Pay for It

2024 tesla model y parked on a beach
Tesla Reveals Longer-Range Model YTesla
  • New Tesla Model Y Long Range RWD trim appears on automaker's website with 320 miles of range, priced at $46,630.

  • Tesla retires the least expensive Model Y trim, the 260-mile Standard Range RWD, but also reveals that it has some software-locked range in reserve that can be purchased by owners.

  • The EV maker has been changing pricing on its models at a rapid pace this year, with some occurring just weeks apart.

Random reshuffling of its lineup as well as pricing are nothing new for Tesla. And the start of May delivered a rare double feature: The replacement of one Model Y trim and the reveal of software-locked range in another.


First, Tesla added a new trim of the Model Y to its lineup, dubbed Long Range RWD, which replaces the outgoing Standard Range RWD model. The new Long Range flavor paired with rear-wheel drive offers a range of 320 miles and carries a sticker of $46,630.

Among other things, this new variant will sit below the Long Range AWD model, which has a range of 310 miles and is positioned relatively close in price wearing a $49,630 sticker.

The all-wheel-drive version is also a bit quicker off the line, as you'd expect, making the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, versus 6.5 seconds in the Long Range RWD.

The difference for buyers, therefore, largely boils down to whether they live in a region where AWD might come in handy, with the Model Y delivering that ability for an extra $3,000.

The second and perhaps less expected reshuffling of the Model Y lineup has to do with the recently dropped base Model Y, commonly known as the Standard Range RWD or the 260-mile Model Y.

It turns out this version has been keeping a bit of range in reserve, with Elon Musk revealing that owners will be able to unlock more range—if they pay for it.

"The '260-mile' range Model Ys built over the past several months actually have more range that can be unlocked for $1,500 to $2,000 (gains 40 to 60 miles of range), depending on which battery cells you have," the Tesla CEO wrote on the X platform previously known as Twitter.

This move will be subject to regulatory approvals, the CEO added, so it's not happening yet. But it could allow owners to make their 260-mile Model Y into a 320-mile Model Y with just a payment.

Software-locked range in EVs is a relatively recent trend, and paying the extra money to unlock it might make sense to some owners to hedge against future battery degradation if not for the purpose of maxing out a full-charge battery.

After all, not many Model Y owners will be taking road trips where they will have to rely on close to 100% of the battery's range in making it from one Supercharger to the next.

But this is also representative of a newer and controversial trend of automakers locking some already-installed features in cars, including battery range, allowing them to sell "different" ranges while assembling the same hardware.

Tesla has not been exactly open about the kWh capacities in the various trims it offers, but vehicle weights have at times hinted at identical hardware being on board.

One potential issue of software-locked range feared by some observers is that in the future it will be possible for automakers to lock vehicles out of more range until a missed subscription fee is paid.

This isn't happening at the moment with Tesla, but it's also not difficult to see it occurring at some point as automakers continue to gravitate toward subscription-based fees.

Should automakers be able to lock battery ranges in EVs for the purpose of offering different range numbers under various trims? Let us know what you think.