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Tesla To Bring Back Most Affordable Model Y Using A Bigger CATL LFP Battery Pack And Longer Range

According to reliable sources, Tesla is planning to bring back Standard Range Plus Model Y manufacturing to the Fremont California plant. The vehicle will have a bigger battery pack, longer range, and LFP batteries from CATL.

Tesla has had a somewhat back and forth strategy when it comes to the Standard Range Plus Model Y. The EV maker began selling the cheapest variant of the Model Y back in January 2021. At the time, Tesla listed the vehicle starting at $39,900 and said the vehicle can travel 244 miles based on EPA estimated range.

However, after a few weeks, Tesla quietly discontinued the vehicle by removing it from the company’s online configurator. Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained the thinking behind the move saying, the Standard Range Model Y’s 244-mile range did not meet “Tesla’s standard of excellence”.

Still, a few months later, Tesla once again started selling the vehicle, but this time only in China and Hong Kong. In China, the vehicle has a starting price of 276,000 yuan ($42,600) before autopilot, wheel, interior, and exterior add-on options.

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The Standard Range Plus Model Y in China has a 326-mile range, however, that is using the much more forgiving NEDC testing cycle. If we approximate the NEDC range to an EPA estimate, the made-in-China Standard Range Plus Model Y has somewhere around 240 miles of range, which would make it similar to the Standard Range Plus Model Y made in the US.

However, despite the seeming similarities between the short-lived Fremont California-built Standard Range Model Y and Giga Shangahi built Standard Range Model Y, the vehicles have one major difference.

Standard Range Plus Model Y, built at Giga Shanghai comes with a larger 60kWh battery pack with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from CATL. That is as opposed to the Panasonic-built Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) cells found in the Fremont California-built Model Y.

Related news: Europeans Line Up For An Hour To Get Their First Glimpse Of The Model Y As Tesla Begins Deliveries

Elon Musk in the past has said, despite NMC batteries’ higher energy density, he still prefers LFP batteries over the former, at least for vehicles without tight weight constraints such as the Tesla Semi, Cybertruck, and Roadster.

Speaking at Tesla’s latest earnings call Musk said “I think probably there is a long-term shift more in the direction of iron-based lithium-ion cells rather than nickel.”

“I think probably we’ll see a shift — my guess is probably to two-thirds iron, one-third nickel, or something on that order. And this is actually good because there’s plenty of iron in the world. There’s an insane amount of iron. But nickel, there’s much less nickel, and there’s way less cobalt.”

And now, according to Twitter user Ryan (@MilMileBattery), who has a good track record of predicting Tesla’s plans, Tesla is pushing forward with the company’s iron-based battery strategy and is working to bring back Standard Range Plus Model Y manufacturing to the Fremont plant using LFP batteries from CATL.

According to Ryan, Tesla has also decided to increase the battery pack size in the new Standard Range Model Y with LFP batteries. The larger battery pack is expected to increase the EPA estimated range of the Standard Range Model Y to 295 miles.

As for the timeline, Rayn says we should expect the new Standard Range Model Y to start sales in North America by the end of this year.

We still don’t have any confirmation from Tesla regarding the EV maker’s plans with the new Standard Range Model Y with the bigger battery pack, longer range, and CATL LFP batteries. We will however be sure to keep you posted if we get any more information. Make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

So what do you think? Excited about a new Standard Range Plus Model Y? Do you think Tesla will keep the $39,900 price tag of the previous model? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

For more information check out: New Tesla 4680 Battery Summary Update for 2021 Also, see Elon Musk Says FSD Beta Wide Release In "4 Weeks"

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.


David Fenton (not verified)    August 28, 2021 - 3:19AM

It's not the Standard Range Plus Model Y - the "Plus" tag is only used for the Model 3. Ironically, the SR plus 3 isn't fully equipped, whereas the SR Y is. The original SR 3:was even less equipped, hence the plus, but it's a little confusing!

DeanMcManis (not verified)    August 29, 2021 - 12:04AM

While it makes sense that Tesla is moving to LFP batteries for the Model 3 (as stated before) It is more of a stretch (although still possible) that The Model Y will return in SR form with RWD and LFP batteries (and hopefully a lower price). The Model 3 SR costs $10K less than the LR model and is rated at 100Mi less. If that translated to the Model Y SR/LFP equally, that would start at $44K and go 226 miles. The VW ID.4 Pro is RWD, is rated at around 250 miles, is MUCH slower than the Model Y, but it starts at $44K, and that's before the federal subsidies. The Mach-E also starts up at a lower price, but gets much closer when you try and option it similarly. Again the Tesla Model Y is quicker, and likely even an LFP battery powered SR model would get more usable range. But like VW they qualify for that $7,500 federal subsidy. I do hope that Tesla does come out with a LFP battery, RWD, SR model for around $44K, but it is far from certain.