The Tesla Model Y is scheduled for release in about a year from now, and we just got a glimpse of one “in the wild” near Tesla headquarters yesterday. Tesla Motors Club forum user Cstreet managed to grab a clip of the Model Y in black driving around in Portola Valley, just a few miles from Tesla’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters.
The video is short but doesn’t show significant changes from the Tesla Model Y unveiling, other than a new color we’ve not seen before: black.
The Model Y was previously spotted “in the wild” back in May, but it was then being followed by a camera car, seemingly being used to gather footage for Tesla marketing.
This time is different, because the Model Y was simply being driven around on its own.
Prior to the Model 3 release, there were many sightings of the car driving around Silicon Valley, charging, etc. The best pictures came from when the car was parked, when people were able to get out and take high-resolution photos with real cameras.
But now, after the release of TeslaCam, Tesla owners have a constantly rolling camera any time they’re driving around. This means areas like Silicon Valley, with incredibly high rates of Tesla ownership, have thousands of cameras on the roads at all times, ready to capture any prototypes that pass by.
All the owner needs to do is press the TeslaCam button to save the footage, then get home and upload it to the internet to let the world see any sightings of a new prototype.
That’s how Cstreet captured the Model Y this time around, with a couple short clips from his Tesla’s external cameras.
The best view comes from this side camera clip, where the Model Y is visible from the side and rear:
The wheels look to be the same gray 19-inch sport wheels from the last Tesla Model Y prototype, though it’s hard to tell from the video, given that the car is moving and in shadow. In Tesla’s “Design Your Model Y” page, 19-inch sport wheels are available, but only in silver. Tesla previously called these their “cyclone” wheel design.
Notably, the car maintains the “chrome delete” seen at the Model Y unveiling. This is a popular modification on the Model 3, which covers up the chrome around the windows, door handles, etc. to make for a less “flashy” exterior. The only bit of visible chrome on the Model Y prototype in the video is around the side autopilot cameras. In addition, the rear windows look heavily tinted.
The front view offers a significantly darker, backlit, shadowed look at the car from the front:
Hopefully, other owners will be able to use their TeslaCams to get some more footage of the Model Y out on the road, and we’ll have a lot more sightings to come in the run up to the car’s delivery debut.
While this is still very little to go on, it’s encouraging to see the car out and driving on public roads, perhaps doing some testing, or perhaps just being moved from place to place.
Tesla has had trouble bringing cars to market on schedule in the past, with CEO Elon Musk acknowledging in the past that he can be a little optimistic in his time estimates.
But the Tesla Model Y will share many parts and similarities with the Tesla Model 3, and this should make it much easier to bring it to market. The Model X differed significantly from the Model S, which caused a lot of problems with getting the Model X to market on time (and reliability problems early on).
If the Model Y is out on public roads testing a year before it’s meant to be delivered, and the car isn’t too different from the Model 3 from a production standpoint, then maybe there’s a good chance of seeing it delivered next year as promised.
The “crossover SUV” market is booming in the US, and Tesla expects to do at least as many sales of the Model Y as the Model 3. As sedan sales have been dropping, more and more companies have been offering small SUVs. Tesla looks to capitalize on that with the Model Y. If sales are anything like what they’ve been for the Model 3, it should be a big boost for the company.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.