Tesla Model Y vs Tesla Model 3 - The EV Showdown


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The Tesla Model Y is finally here. People are taking delivery and with 316 miles of EPA estimated range, a 0-60 time of close to 3.5 seconds, and 68 cubic feet of cargo storage. You might be wondering is this the Tesla for you?

Tesla Model Y Overview

This adds to the lineup that already exists of the Model S, the flagship sedan, the Model X with the crazy falcon-wing doors, and of course the extremely popular Tesla Model 3. So, we have a complete family here, and I wanted to just go through and give you my thoughts on whether or not the Tesla Model Y is right for you.

In the United States, the crossover represents the largest selling auto segment by far, with 37% of the total market share, followed by the pickup, small car, medium-sized car, and then the SUV way down there. 

So, this kind of fits all those needs of an SUV by having more storage, having more seating capacity, but it is easier to park, is easier to deal with and doesn't take as much space in your driveway. So, it kind of gives you more bang for the buck, in terms of how much money you're spending as well as how much space the vehicle takes up.

Why Consumers Want An Efficient SUV

In a recent survey by Consumer Reports, show that SUV owners want more fuel-efficient vehicles. Notably in that survey, it found that 73% of people currently driving a large SUV or pickup truck are interested in getting a vehicle that is more efficient than their current one.

Running Costs

And so, with zero emissions and a fuel cost that's somewhere between 70 to 80% cheaper than what you may pay for gasoline, the Model Y fits the bill. Now, as I mentioned, Tesla has other models out there so lets first look at what separates this one from the other economical counterpart, the Tesla Model 3.

Seating Options

Now really, the two things that are unique here about the Tesla Model Y versus the Model 3, are one, more room for kids. So, this will eventually have a seven-seat option, granted it will be a very small seven-seat option in the very back, it's not going to be a ton of room for full-size adults.

So, it's going to be tiny back there, but you will be able to fit more people which is good if you have a larger family, and it fits that need of traveling with five or six people in the car.

Model Y Storage Space

It also has a hatchback and this is good for storing things. So, whether or not you're, say moving furniture or you're hauling stuff for your business, or you just wanna go outdoors more and put things like a bike or a surfboard or whatever back there, this has a hatchback that opens big, which is different than the Model 3 which has a good-sized trunk but the small opening so it can't fit these larger items.

Plus, the roof of the Model Y is quite a bit taller than the Model 3, giving you even more room to kind of stand items up, so it serves to be more of a utility vehicle than the Model 3 which is kind of a midsize sedan.

Frunk Storage 

Adding to the utility of the vehicle, there is a large frunk which is the trunk in the front of the car, if you're unfamiliar with that term. And it's much bigger than the one the Model 3 has, which is nice.

Trunk Storage

Also, underneath the flat part in the back where the hatchback is, there is an undercarriage, an under trunk you may call it. The Model 3 does have that, it's a bit smaller, but the Model Y boasts another undercarriage trunk, another undercarriage compartment. 

So the storage and the capability of the Model Y are infinitely better than Model 3 in these ways. So if you have kids, or just need to load more stuff in your car regularly, the Model Y fits the bill.

Color Selection & Wheels

Then you have the color selection, the pearl white multi-coat is included. If you want any of the other colors, they will have an added cost. And of course, the 19-inch wheels that come with it have the aero caps that are kind of like hub caps and those are included but if you want the upgraded 20-inch ones, you will pay $2,000.

Seat Options 

Again, let's assume that you're going for the minimalistic approach, just the most utility you can get out of the vehicle. From the interior, we'll leave it as black with the five-seat option. Here is that seven-seat option for an additional $3,000 and it currently is reported that it will be available in 2021, so keep that in mind.


And then you have autopilot. So, in terms of just keeping you in the lane and speeding up and slowing down with the traffic-aware cruise control, this is included in the price of $52,990. There is an add-on that you can get for full self-driving which is an additional $7,000.

And this is an interesting choice because $7,000 is a lot, but if you plan on keeping the car for a very long time, that could pay off well. But if you're like most people and you only plan to keep it say three to five years, this probably isn't going to serve you much and bring you a lot more value on a practical basis.

So for this comparison, we're just going to go ahead and leave it off there. Okay, now let's have a look at a used Model S. Remember, our budget is $52,990 and we can go to the inventory website for Tesla and kind of set our zipcode here. 

Southern California tends to have a lot of used Teslas, so depending on where you live, your mileage may vary. There are other sites by the way if you search for them and they can transport them to you and deliver them to you. So, there are other options than what you see here if you don't see a lot when you go to this website. 

Now, the first thing you'll notice is that the price of the lowest end one at $35,100 is good. I mean that's a lot cheaper than that $52,990. So, you could be saving a lot of money with this model and while it is a bit different in some of the specs.

Driving Range

So, 265 miles of range is not bad, it's not the 316 miles but unless you're going on road trips, chances are you're not going to notice that on a day to day basis. The 0-60 time and the top speed again aren't important because what we're looking at is the practicality of this vehicle. 

Top Speed 

That battery will give you 265 miles of range. Top speed to 140 and 0-60, 5.4 seconds. Again, those aren't the important numbers we're looking at here. $38,500 and this one does have the autopilot hardware here. 

So, again it has a hatchback, it has tons of room, I can tell you from first-hand experience, that it is a very functional vehicle. It likely has a very large frunk as well. And you can kind of scroll down here and see that there are a ton of Model S's that are used and are within this price range.

Autopilot Hardware Costs

Now, the big difference that you're going to see is the variation in autopilot hardware but unless you're paying that $7,000 addition to get the full self-driving, you're not going to notice a huge difference between the autopilot system that's just baked in the kind of base level in the Model Y versus an autopilot version 1 from these cars. 

And people may argue with that, but I can tell you after having multiple different cars with these different hardware suites, that base of functionality is not going to be something that you're going to notice much of a difference.

I still very much prefer autopilot 1, because it is kind of simple and works better and is more consistent than the upgraded one which constantly changes with different software updates. 

So if you're new to Tesla and you don't have autopilot now, first off, it may be something you're not even interested in, in which case you could save even more money, but if it is something you're interested in, I can tell you that you're not going to notice a difference between these old autopilot 1 versions and the new hardware versions. 

The only reason or the only time you're going to notice that is if you get that full self-driving which will give you some added features and then maybe if you keep it for a long time, where you see even more functionality and more things coming out down the road. 

But again, if this is your first Tesla, it's not going to matter, trust me. So, let's keep going and see what we can find in terms of a car just even near that price range for a used Model S. 

So scrolling down to the bottom of the page you will see that we're looking at relatively new models, the 2016's here with relatively low miles, that serve a lot of that same functionality that you get with the Model Y for over $10,000 cheaper. 

So, the whole point of this exercise was to show that just because, maybe the Model Y is the newest model that's out there, the price is pretty hefty and you can get a lot of those same features and a lot of those same functions for quite a bit less. 

Now, if this is your first Tesla and you're coming from a gas car, I can say that the Model S is probably going to feel more car-like to you, it's going to feel more familiar. The Model Y has a minimalistic spartan kind of interior which a lot of people that are Model 3 owners have come to love, and they kind of shun the ornateness or the extra screens and extra stuff in the Model S for a more minimalistic one. 

I personally still prefer the Model S. It's more luxurious to me and just kind of has more features and bells and whistles which I like, especially when you're not paying such a high price for a car. And as you can see here, for 10 grand less than that kind of base model that is currently available for the Model Y, you're going to get a lot of that functionality, a lot of those same things, and even some added stuff, bonuses, inside of the car. 

So, something to consider for sure if you're looking at a Model Y versus maybe any other option out there from Tesla. And of course, if we priced out a Model 3, you'll find that you can get one for quite a bit cheaper but of course, it lacks the cargo space and the extra seating for kids or anything like that. 

So really, if you don't need that extra stuff, then the Model 3 is probably going to be a really good buy for you or again, a used Model S depending on your preference. So with all that said, looking at the numbers here, is the Model Y worth buying, is it right for you? 

Well, I touched on it a little bit but the big difference that you're going to see in the Model Y from say, a used Model S, is the hardware. In the Y you have what is known as autopilot 2 and hardware 3, which are the newer bits to help your car one day drive itself.


As of today, those added hardware bits are going to give you a few more features on that self-driving side of things. So notably, it'll give you smart summon where the car will come to you from a parking lot, with I would say varying results, right now it's new. 

It is cool but not something super practical that I found. It'll also give you navigate on autopilot where the car will merge lanes and it'll do automatic lane changes around other cars if they're going slow. Also, it'll merge to get on and off freeways and do those transitions itself, which in my experience, has worked pretty well. 

It does have some flaws here and there and it's something you need to monitor still but it's getting pretty good. So that could be a thing in the future if you drive a lot or go on a lot of road trips or for work, it could be a bonus there.

Auto Park 

And it also gives this auto park functionality which is either parallel or perpendicular parking. It will automatically do that for you. I've never used this other than the first time I got the car just to test it out. 

I don't know why, maybe it's just me being a male and having an ego but whatever it is, it's just something I never use. It just seems to slow and it doesn't pop up that often. So anyway, those are the things that it will give you that the Model S with the autopilot 1 and hardware, not 3, offers.

Autopilot 1 or AP1

So, let's look at what you do get with the older hardware. So with autopilot 1, or AP1 as it's called, you get a traffic-aware cruise control which will speed up and slow down your car as you're in traffic. 

So this means that if people in front of you are completely stopped, it will also stop, and that's nice because that essentially is the, one of the key things that suck about being in stop and go traffic or a traffic jam. So you can turn that on and that'll work just fine.

Auto Steer

Also, it will keep you in the lane. This is known as auto-steer. Now, this works only on freeways and the idea is that as the road turns and changes and shifts, it will also do that and keep you in that lane. The next thing is that it will also do automatic lane changes. Now you as the driver will have to initiate this, it's not something it will auto-detect and move around say slower traffic, but you can just flip on the turn signal and it will automatically change lanes. And it works well from personal experience

Car Summons 

And the last thing you'll get is summoning which is not to be confused with smart summon that will find you anywhere in the parking lot, this only goes forward and backward. So the last question is, how long do you plan on keeping the car? Because this will play a big factor in the financial side of it as well as kind of the upgrades and any potential future things that may come from a software update. 

If you're the kind of person that keeps your cars until they are completely dead, I would lean towards the Model Y as over the long run, it will serve you better and with more advanced hardware, it will continue to get updates. 

But if you're like most people and you plan to upgrade your car every three to five years, then I would seriously consider a used Model S. As I mentioned, it gives you all of the same functionality, some better tech on the inside in my view, and it probably feels more familiar to you if you're coming into this as your first Tesla.


Now, the last thing to think about along those lines is depreciation and what happens here. So, depending on when you buy your Tesla, it could either hold its value well or have terrible depreciation. 

Here's what I mean. Generally, and there are lots of studies out there, some really good ones from Autolist, show that these cars hold their value much better than competitors, but inside of the Tesla family, there are some nuances, most notably, when there are huge technology shifts. 

So for example, the original Model S did not have autopilot. Then a few years after having that car out in the market, they came out with a new version that did, a car that could drive itself seemingly at the time. 

And what did that do to all those that didn't have it and were not able to be upgraded? The value just plummeted. I bought my original Model S for about half of its retail value only two years after it was first built. 

So, you can have these moments where the technology just takes a leap ahead and it makes everything else that's currently out there just drop tremendously in value. So, that is something to consider here and that's why I think the length of time you're going to keep your vehicle, really plays a big factor in the finances. 

So to put that in perspective, the Model Y is not likely to see a major shift in technology that can't be retrofit. Most likely, all the stuff happening is going to be software updates which is why you see Model 3 holding its value so well. 

Now, if we get a much bigger battery pack or some other things for Model 3 in the next couple of months, I wouldn't be surprised if you see a huge amount of used ones pop on the market and the value of those just plummet. 

So, that is a possibility but in the longterm, the Model Y is going to serve you better in terms of continuing to get these upgrades and all those kinds of things. And if you do want to resell it, that is where you may take a larger hit on the Model Y versus a used Model S, which that hit is already been accounted for at that cheaper price. 

So the last thing to think about whether or not the Model Y is right for you, is that the current models out there are the more expensive ones. Tesla has already announced from the unveiling that they will have a long-range non-dual motor version which starts at $47,000, so quite a bit cheaper.

And a standard range which comes in at $39,000 which is still more than the standard range Model 3 but if you were to compare to a higher-end, more luxury compact SUV or crossover like that, you'll find that price is pretty reasonable. 

So there's a lot to consider here and I hope this video helped you kind of understand that. Of course, everybody's situation is different. For some people, money is a bigger concern than others. 

For others, you have this seven-person family, whatever the case may be, I am here to help guide you through this process. So if you're new, please consider subscribing because each week, what we try to do is just break down the numbers and kind of the facts behind these things to see exactly what's going on and help kind of move it forward towards this kind of more sustainable future.

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