SAN FRANCISCO – Tesla Inc. unveiled the Model Y, promising a much-awaited crossover that will face competition from European automakers rolling out their own electric rivals.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the battery-powered crossover, built on the same platform as the Model 3, would first debut in a long-range version with a range of 300 miles (482 km) priced at $47,000.
Higher-end versions will be delivered starting in fall 2020. A standard version will be available in spring 2021, priced at $39,000 and with a 230-mile (370 km) range, Tesla said. The vehicles can be configured to include 7 seats for an additional $3,000.
After the 40-minute event at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., near Los Angeles on Thursday, Tesla's website included a page to "design and order" the more expensive, long range version of the vehicle with rear-wheel drive. Ordering the car requires a $2,500 refundable deposit.
Tesla's plan to start delivering the Model Y in a year and a half and the company’s cash position rekindled concerns among some analysts.
“More expensive customer deposits for Model Y are likely to reinforce bear concerns about Tesla’s cash,” Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein Co., said in a report Friday. “We expect initial orders to be notably lower than Model 3.”
Tesla ended last year with about $3.7 billion of cash and equivalents, but has since had to pay off a $920 million convertible bond. Musk has warned a loss is likely this quarter, and the carmaker has a $566 million note coming due in November.
Analysts are now again skeptical of Tesla executives’ claims that they’ll be able to service upcoming debt obligations with cash.
“We continue to believe that Tesla will likely raise cash in 2019,” Gene Munster, a managing partner of venture capital firm Loup Ventures, wrote after the event. “While a raise would be viewed as negative in the near term, it would be positive in the long term, potentially putting to rest longer-term investor cash concerns.”
Munster and Ivan Fienseth of Tigress Financial Partners said the company would likely need to raise money later this year.
Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne agreed in another note Friday.
"We believe the event was more of a capital raising effort and branding exercise," Osborne said. "We do not see the new Model Y igniting elevated demand or enthusiasm for the Tesla brand."