Tesla Just Axed Its Most Affordable Model Y EV

Currently, the electric vehicle giant Tesla offers four models: the Tesla Model S, the Model 3, the Model X, and the Model Y. Out of these four models and their various sub-variants, the all-wheel drive version of the Model Y is generally the cheapest one. Retailing at around $40,000, it's a good option for those who want to invest in the Tesla ecosystem, but don't have nearly $80,000 to spend on a top-of-the-line Model S. 

Unfortunately it seems that, as of today, that relatively more affordable option is no longer on the table. Eagle-eyed Tesla aficionados have realized today that the AWD version of the Model Y has disappeared from the vehicle builder page on Tesla's website. 

The "Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive" option is included on the list of other Model Y sub-variants, but it cannot be clicked on. You can still buy a Model Y, but that particular trim is apparently no longer available, with the only available variants being the Model Y Long Range and the Model Y performance package.

Potential redirecting of labor

At the time of writing, Tesla has not publicly commented on the removal of the AWD option for the Model Y. However, based on circumstances surrounding the company, a particular theory has begun to circulate.

The AWD version of the Model Y is currently the only Tesla vehicle that employs the company's 4680 battery cells, while the other sub-variants use different batteries. Coincidentally, the 4680 is the model of battery cell that's set to be used in Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck. The predominant theory is that Tesla is quietly dialing back production on the AWD Model Y so it can start funneling 4680 battery cells into Cybertruck production, which is slated to release by the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

It is also possible that the AWD Model Y is being shelved in order to free up production capability at Tesla's Giga Texas production plant. If this were the case, the newly-available production capability would likely also be used to bolster the looming rollout of the Cybertruck.

With the removal of the AWD Model Y from Tesla's vehicle builder, the next cheapest model is the Model Y Long Range which, after fees and basic modifications, would retail for around $50,000. It is not known if and how this change will affect any existing AWD Model Y orders, but any still in the pipeline will hopefully be finished and shipped out before production presumably halts completely.