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Tesla's Entry-Level Model Y With LFP Battery Set To Launch In Europe

According to sources close to the company, the Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin is assembling the first units of a Model Y entry-level type with rear-wheel drive and LFP battery.

The Tesla Model Y has been a total success in Europe: the SUV became the best-selling model in the Old Continent in the first quarter of the year. Positioned as one of the most logical purchases in the electric segment, the current access version is the most requested version among European drivers. However, as various unofficial but reliable sources report, the Berlin Gigafactory could be starting to assemble a new access-style model for Europe.

Currently, the rear-wheel drive Model Y with 455 kilometer range is the cheapest unit in the entire gamut in the old continent, with a starting price of 46,490 euros (without government aid). Unlike the higher dual motor, Long Range and Performance versions, it is not produced within Europe, instead all units are imported from China. However, as Teslamag acknowledges, something may be changing at the Giga Berlin factory: a new model could have been already added to the assembly lines.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

This is not the first time that something like this has been heard since in August of last year the first rumors of an entry-level Model Y circulated. It was already highlighted sometime ago that the European Union had approved the production based on a LFP battery signed by Chinese BYD. Despite the approval of the authorities, nothing was ever heard of that possible version again, up until now. The first units could already have been assembled, but Tesla has not actually confirmed anything about it yet. Nothing is revealed in the official web configurator either, although everything may change soon.

About a year ago it was specified that the entry-level Model Y will offer a Blade-type battery signed by BYD. The battery will be imported from China and will have a 55 kWh capacity, although whether this is net or gross is unknown. This way the electric SUV will be able to offer an approved range of up to 440 kilometers, just 15 kilometers less than the current entry-level model. The price should also be lower, although it is hard to imagine the figure; possibly around 40,000 or 42,000 euros, before possible Government aid.

The incorporation of the LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery will mean a change in the architecture of the car: the characteristic of this type of cell-to-pack batteries is that they not only store energy but also become a fundamental part of the vehicle's structure. That means Tesla will have to make changes to the forming process for large castings. Obviously, this fact means that the entry-level Model Y in Europe will no longer be imported from China, which in turn should have an impact on the sale price.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

On more than one occasion, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, declared the good business relationship that ties his company to the BYD firm from China. The Chinese are currently the world's second largest battery producers and hope to become one of the major players in electric mobility in Europe. Its official landing on the Old Continent has already taken place: the first three models of the brand to be sold are the BYD Han, the BYD Tang and the BYD Atto 3. The latter will position itself as the best-selling model of all, thanks to its excellent price-quality value ratio. In Europe it is already available at a reasonable price of 41,400 euros.

In conclusion, the potential arrival of a more affordable Tesla Model Y with an LFP battery for the European market signifies a strategic move to further solidify the company's position in the rapidly growing electric vehicle segment. Not only would this new version offer an attractive price point for consumers, but it would also reinforce Tesla's partnership with Chinese battery manufacturer BYD, expanding their global influence in the automotive industry.

However, as Tesla has yet to officially confirm the production of this new model, we must continue to wait for further developments before drawing any definitive conclusions. Nevertheless, the anticipation surrounding this news highlights the ever-growing importance of electrification efforts and their global impact on the automotive landscape.

Source: teslamag

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.