For 2023, Electrek has decided to make the Tesla Model Y its vehicle of the year. Well, it’s not as much us who decided, car buyers did.
With Model Y becoming the first electric vehicle to become the best-selling car in the world and officially mainstream, how can we not make it the vehicle of the year?
Generally, when choosing a new vehicle of the year, publications choose new vehicles that launched that year. And there were plenty of fantastic new electric vehicles that came to market in 2023.
But we feel it’s more appropriate to choose the electric vehicle that has had the best impact this year, and by that criteria, I think Model Y is the undeniable winner.
Throughout the year, Model Y has broken records across many markets by not only becoming the best-selling electric vehicle but also becoming the best-selling vehicle period in those markets.
Last year, Model Y already became the fourth best-selling vehicle in the world behind only the Ford F-Series, Toyota Rav4, and Toyota Corolla.
Model Y was at about 750,000 units, while the Corolla was sitting in first with 1.1 million.
In 2023, with all those new records in massive markets, the electric vehicle is on track to beat that number while the Corolla is slightly down.
That should make the Tesla Model Y the best-selling passenger vehicle in the world in 2023.
Tesla achieved that by adding Model Y production to Gigafactory Texas and Berlin on top of the existing production in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China.
On the demand side, Tesla had to cut prices throughout the year to keep orders coming in amid increasing interest rates, but the automaker was able to do that thanks to its industry-leading gross margin.
The feat is also impressive considering the fact that Model Y starts at exactly twice the $22,0000 starting price of the Corolla in the US.
Most of the industry laughed at Elon Musk when the CEO estimated the demand for the Model Y between 500,000 and 1,000,000 units per year back in 2016.
Now, it’s even exceeding that.
It’s hard to overstate the impact of having an electric vehicle program now reaching 1 million units annually and becoming the best-selling passenger car in the world.
Tesla’s mission was always to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles both directly with its own vehicles and indirectly by putting pressure on the industry. The Model Y managed to do both by adding an enormous number of EVs on the road that are replacing gas mileage and by showing the rest of the industry that if they want to have the best-selling car now, it needs to be electric.
Tesla Model Y
It’s clear why Model Y sells so well. It took everything Tesla did great with Model 3, and there’s a lot of that, and made it into a form factor that fits the most popular segment in the world: small SUVs/crossovers.
The vehicle has the performance and driving dynamics of a sports car, the cargo space of a small SUV, and that’s subjective, obviously, but it looks fantastic.
The design is simple yet strong. Many say it looks too much like Model 3, but can’t you blame Tesla if it happens that Model 3’s design transforms so well into a crossover?
Model Y can also have a factory tow package with a small but still useful 3,500-lbs towing capacity. This contributes to making Model Y a sort of Swiss army knife of a car.
The Model Y also has the same advantages as all Tesla vehicles, like the over-the-air software updates that make the vehicle better (for the most part) every few months.
Sure there are downsides like the sometimes not outstanding build quality and of course, CEO Elon Musk has made the brand polarizing somehow.
I know that the spartan interior of the Model Y is a bit polarizing, but I like it:
It’s not crowded with buttons and controls. Even the AC fans and speakers are hidden. It helps create a zen feeling to the vehicle’s interior. Whenever I sit in my Model 3 (very similar interior to Model Y), I feel relaxed, which is a welcomed feeling when you are about to sit Montreal traffic for an hour.
Also, if you haven’t sat in the latest generation of Model Y and Model 3, I would recommend it. Tesla has made a lot of improvements to its seats. I understand that it depends on your body type, but it is perfect for me (6’0″, 180 lbs).
Top comment by Dean Myerson
Count me among those who doesn’t want a Tesla but is still thrilled to see how they have expanded the EV map, and will continue to do so. I do really hope that the big legacy companies figure it all out in time.
The Full Self-Driving package is a wild card, and its value depends on your faith in Tesla delivering on its promise, but Autopilot is a solid level 2 driver assist system.
If I was going to list all the cool technology in the Model Y, we would be here all day, but as a Northerner, I want to mention the very efficient heat pump in Model Y. It’s a game changer for winter driving in colder climates.
With all that technology, smart design, and performance, a starting price of $44,000, which is $4,000 less than the average new car price in the US, and up to 330 miles of range, it’s easy to see why Model Y would be so popular.
It’s so popular that it is now the best-selling passenger car in the world. But today, it receives its biggest honor yet: being Electrek’s vehicle of the year.
Author: Fred Lambert