Electrek's Vehicle of the Year 2023: The Tesla Model Y
For the year 2023, the Tesla Model Y has been announced the "Vehicle of the Year".
The reason behind this choice is clear: the Model Y has achieved a monumental feat by becoming the world's best-selling car, marking a historic moment in the automotive industry's transition to electric vehicles.
Traditionally, when publications pick their "Vehicle of the Year," they often opt for the latest models launched in that specific year. 2023 indeed witnessed the launch of numerous outstanding electric vehicles. However, it's more fitting to acknowledge the electric vehicle that has made the most significant impact throughout the year, and in that regard, the Model Y is the undeniable winner.
Throughout the year, the Model Y has shattered records across various markets. Not only has it become the best-selling electric vehicle, but it has also claimed the title of the best-selling vehicle overall in those markets. Last year, the Model Y ranked as the fourth best-selling vehicle globally, trailing only behind the Ford F-Series, Toyota Rav4, and Toyota Corolla.
In 2023, with even more record-breaking sales in massive markets, the Model Y is on track to surpass those numbers, while the Corolla's sales have slightly dipped. This sets the stage for the Tesla Model Y to potentially become the best-selling passenger vehicle globally in 2023.
Tesla achieved this remarkable milestone by expanding Model Y production to Gigafactory Texas and Berlin in addition to its existing facilities in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China. On the demand side, Tesla had to adjust prices throughout the year to maintain a steady stream of orders amid rising interest rates. Yet, the automaker managed to do so thanks to its industry-leading gross margin.
This achievement becomes even more impressive when you consider that the Model Y's starting price in the US is exactly twice that of the Corolla, which starts at $22,000.
Back in 2016, when CEO Elon Musk estimated Model Y's annual demand to be between 500,000 and 1,000,000 units, many in the industry scoffed. Today, it is surpassing even those ambitious projections.
The impact of having an electric vehicle program that now produces 1 million units annually and claims the title of the best-selling passenger car globally cannot be overstated. Tesla's mission has always been to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, both directly with its own vehicles and indirectly by exerting pressure on the industry. The Model Y has achieved both goals by introducing a substantial number of EVs on the road and demonstrating to the rest of the industry that electric is the way forward.
It takes everything that Tesla did right with the Model 3 and adapts it to fit the most popular segment in the world: small SUVs/crossovers. It offers the performance and driving dynamics of a sports car, the cargo space of a small SUV, and a design that is simple yet striking. While some may argue that it closely resembles the Model 3, it's hard to fault Tesla when the design transitions so seamlessly into a crossover.
Additionally, the Model Y can be equipped with a factory tow package, providing a modest but still useful 3,500-pound towing capacity. This versatility makes the Model Y akin to a Swiss army knife of cars.
The Model Y shares the advantages common to all Tesla vehicles, including over-the-air software updates that continuously enhance the vehicle's functionality. Its interior is uncluttered, with hidden AC fans and speakers that contribute to a calm and zen-like atmosphere for passengers. Tesla's recent seat improvements have also enhanced overall comfort, pleasing a wide range of body types.
While the value of the Full Self-Driving package remains a subject of debate, the Autopilot system offers a solid level 2 driver assist feature.
The Model Y boasts a multitude of innovative technologies, but one standout feature, especially for those in colder climates, is its highly efficient heat pump, which significantly improves winter driving.
With its impressive technology, thoughtful design, exhilarating performance, a starting price of $44,000 (which is $4,000 less than the average new car price in the US), and a remarkable range of up to 330 miles, it's no wonder the Model Y has captured the hearts of consumers worldwide.
The Model Y's popularity extends far beyond its sleek design and advanced technology. It has secured its place as the best-selling passenger car globally, and today, it receives one of its most significant honors yet: being named Electrek's "Vehicle of the Year" for 2023.