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The Best Tesla Models for 2020

Reviewing the 2020 Tesla Lineup

Tesla Model Y front 3/4 view

After humble beginnings, Tesla has officially become a major automaker if 2018 sales figures are any indicator. The luxury electric car manufacturer started its journey with only 23 cars sold worldwide in 2010 while their global sales for 2018 amount to around 245,240 vehicles. This is also their record figure to date considering how 2017 totals stopped at 105,904 units. In other words, the Palo Alto-based company has exhibited a staggering 131 percent growth year-over-year on its way to becoming the world’s largest EV manufacturer, both as a brand and as an automotive group. This was achieved thanks to the new Tesla Model 3 which, in a way, represents a modern interpretation of the Ford Model T (insofar as its effects on the auto industry) and has finally hit full stride in the third quarter of 2018. It also lays a healthy foundation for future enterprises and the potential expansion of the 2020 Tesla lineup.

This comes without saying, but Tesla’s home market also represents the company’s most important single market with 191,627 vehicles sold throughout 2018. In other words, the U.S. market accounts for roughly 78 percent of Tesla’s worldwide totals and has also exhibited staggering growth compared to 2017. To be more precise, Tesla’s U.S. figures have risen by an incredible 282 percent from 50,145 models sold in 2017 to the already mentioned 191,627 units in 2018.

Most of Tesla’s 2018 sales were achieved in the third and fourth quarter when the automaker marketed around 83,500 and 90,700 EVs respectively. For comparison, Q1 and Q2 sales for 2018 amounted to a comparably-low 30,000 and 41,000 units respectively. As mentioned above, this rapid growth was made possible by the company’s most affordable vehicle to date – the Model 3. The Model 3’s sales themselves stand at 141,546 since the beginning of production (starting in late 2017 and concluding with December, 2018) of which 139,782 units were sold during 2018 and 1,770 during 2017. This is roughly 73 percent of the company’s U.S. totals which clearly makes the Model 3 a favorite over the more expensive Model S and Model X. What’s more, the Model 3 has broken all U.S. market records for EVs considering how the previous record holder for full-year sales was the Nissan Leaf with 30,200 units marketed throughout the entire 2014.

Early 2019 figures suggest that Tesla is about to enjoy another record-breaking year – at least when U.S. market figures are taken into consideration. The EV company has sold 84,575 units in the first two quarters of 2018 which is almost a 90 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017 when they had sold 44,612 vehicles.

With the all-new Tesla Roadster likely to expand the Tesla portfolio sometime in 2020 or 2021 and immediately become one of the best electric cars 2020 will bring to market, the California company’s future looks bright indeed. What’s more, Tesla is looking to enter the pickup truck segment as well, but will likely require another year or two before that idea becomes official. Let’s now take a closer look at what the Tesla models will have to offer in 2020.

What’s Hot in the 2020 Tesla Lineup

03. 2020 Roadster

It’s not the first Tesla car to wear the Roadster moniker since the California-based company already used to sell the not-so-creatively named electric sports car between 2008 and 2012, but it’s definitely the first car that went into space.

The hype behind the upcoming 2020 Tesla Roadster has settled down after the now-legendary reveal presentation in late 2017, but it’s only a calm before the storm, really. Knowing Tesla, the hypercar performance-worthy EV that’s expected to cost somewhere north of $200,000 (the first 1,000 Founders Series units cost $250,000 each) might arrive later than expected, but at least the initial deliveries are expected to take place in 2020.

After all, now that Model 3 production and its delivery issues have finally been sorted out, there’s very little in the ways of dragging the Roadster Mark 2 back – aside from possibly the all-new Model Y affordable crossover.

According to the company’s CEO and co-founder Elon Musk, the forthcoming Tesla Roadster will be the world’s quickest-accelerating production car ever made. With a 0 to 60 mph time estimated at a lightning-quick 1.9 seconds and a 0 to 100 mph time estimated at 4.2 seconds on its way to the top speed of 250 mph, this may very well just turn out to be true. Or at least that used to be the case before the new batch of electric hypercars from Rimac, Pininfarina, and Lotus was announced.

It’ll apparently be powered by a huge 200-kWh battery pack and a trio of electric motors (one up front and two at the back) for a still undisclosed combined output. They did say that combined torque at the wheels amounts to around 7,400 pound-feet. Yes, you read that right – it’s more than seven thousand pound-feet of twist. Moreover, the new car should also be able to provide up to 620 miles of range on a single charge which is another record figure in the EV world.

Mind you, all these figures sound rather far-fetched and we’ll believe them when we finally see the actual production model in action. It wouldn’t be the first time Tesla has gone over the top to make the unthinkable happen, though. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

2020 Tesla Roadster front 3/4 view


02. 2020 Model Y

Revealed at the company’s LA design studio on March 14, 2019, the Model Y is set to join the Model 3 as Tesla’s cornerstone vehicle in the future. The two will share the same platform as well, but the more compact crossover will actually serve as an affordable alternative to the Model X – much like the Model 3 is to the Model S.

Unlike the larger Model X, the smaller Model Y doesn’t sport the flashy gullwing doors. It will support up to seven seats, though, but that option will cost an extra $3,000. Speaking of prices, the base Model Y’s (dubbed the “Standard Version”) are expected to start from $39,000, while the Long Range models are expected to cost $47,000. In Tesla’s traditional fashion, the latter will be the first to arrive sometime during the second half of 2020 (production start confirmed for Fall) while the entry-level models are set to appear in the Spring of 2021.

The California company will also sell the Performance edition with a starting sticker of $60,000, and the Dual Motor AWD models set to start from $51,000. These, too, will be available in late 2020. Pre-orders have been open for a while now and deposits have been set to $2,500.

The all-new Tesla Model Y will use a similar powertrain setup as the Model 3. After all, they’ll share up to 75 percent of the parts between them, and the crossover will be only 10 percent larger, which is also reflected in its prices.

The total electric range for the base model will be 220 miles, while the Long Range models are supposed to be good for up to 300 miles on a single charge. The Dual Motor AWD and Performance models will get an additional electric motor mounted on the front axle for 280 miles of range and 0 to 60 times of 4.8 seconds and 3.5 seconds respectively. Needless to say, the latter will sport a more powerful unit on the rear wheels.

The Model Y completes the Tesla lineup for now and does so in a rather interesting fashion. We now have The Models S, 3, X, and Y, so put their acronyms together and do the math. Tesla actually badly wanted to name its Model 3 – Model E, but for some reason, Ford prevented them from doing so. In Musk’s own words in a 2014 press conference after Ford denied the California-company’s use of Model E nomenclature (based on a prior agreement between the companies), the Blue Oval was accused of “killing sex,” because the compact EV would’ve rounded out the Tesla lineup with models S, E, and X. Still, it appears as though things still worked out for Tesla for the most part.

Tesla Model Y front 3/4 view

01. 2020 Model 3

As already mentioned above, the Model 3’s production and delivery woes are finally behind Tesla and the company is now enjoying the best spell in its relatively short history thanks to it. The entry-level models start from $36,000 prior to tax refunds and represent the most affordable way of owning an entry-level luxury EV with that kind of range.

Speaking of range, the most affordable of Tesla models sports no less than four different choices: the Standard Range (220 miles), Standard Range Plus (240 miles), Dual Motor Long Range (310 miles), and Dual Motor Long Range Performance (310 miles) – all of which raise the initial price tag to as much as $63,200. The Mid Range (264 miles) and Long Range (325 miles) models have meanwhile been discontinued.

Although the affordable electric sedan has exhibited a few imperfections in build and material quality, and poor sound insulation, we simply can’t compare these shortcomings to what it offers in range, efficiency, driving quality, and nimbleness – or available features, for that matter.

Every Tesla Model 3 sports a rear-mounted electric motor with range-topping dual-motor versions adding another on the front axle. The rear-wheel-drive models make 283 hp and 307 lb-ft of torque while the all-wheel-drive dual-motor setup raises that output to 412 hp and 376 lb-ft. The range-topping Performance units, on the other hand, crank up as much as 473 horsepower and 471 pound-feet of rotational force.

There are three battery packs to choose from: a standard 50-kWh one, a standard plus 54-kWh one, and a long-range 75-kWh one. Utilizing the company’s supercharger network provides up to 170 miles of range in a 30-minute charge, while home chargers provide up to 37 miles of range in an hour of charging. Finally, the heavy battery pack mounted below deck provides a low center of gravity which gives the car the nimbleness of much sportier vehicles.

Tesla Model 3 front 3/4 view


What’s Not in the new 2020 Tesla Lineup

02. 2020 Model S

Don’t get us wrong – the Model S is one quality luxury car with loads of tech features and some of the most advanced driver’s aids on the market, including the optional Level 5 autonomous driving. However, by marketing the Model 3 and forthcoming Model Y, the company itself has demonstrated that modern EVs don’t have to be exorbitantly expensive (which the $100,000+ range-topping Model S’ certainly are).

Even the entry-level models, which now start from around $82,000 (used to cost almost $100,000 last year), are neither affordable to begin with nor are they all that fresh having been running on the same underpinnings since 2012. The Model S still offers a class-leading driving range and the most lavish interior a Tesla can offer. That, however, still might not be enough – especially considering what kind of luxury the Germans and even the Japanese offer for the equivalent amount of money.

After discontinuing the base 75-kWh battery pack, the Model S can now be ordered exclusively with the largest 100-kWh unit. The new Long Range models (née 100D) sport a permanent electric all-wheel-drive system considering its setup consists of two electric motors – one on each axle. Both motors pack 259 horsepower and the range is estimated at 370 miles – up from 335 miles in 2019. This was achieved by switching to a permanent magnet reluctance motor at the front while the rear unit remains induction-based.

The Performance model (previously known as the P100D) offers a slightly shorter range of 345 miles (also up by 30 miles from 315 in 2019) but more than compensates with extra power. It replaces the Long Range model’s rear motor with a more powerful 503-horsepower unit for a combined output of 762 horsepower and 687 pound-feet of twist. That’s enough to propel the 5,000-pounder to 60 mph from a standing start in less than 3 seconds with the fabled “Ludicrous Mode” that’s became standard for MY 2020 and warrants $101,000 instead of $130,000.

All in all, the Tesla Model S offers unparalleled performance and range in the EV world but competitors are slowly but steadily gaining on it. What’s more, the Californian company is doing very little to update its flagship car and that might spell trouble going forward.

Although most prices went down, the Autopilot feature now costs $7,000, and is $1,000 more expensive than in 2019 and $2,000 than in 2018.

Tesla Model S front 3/4 view


01. Model X

Being the Model S’ crossover counterpart, pretty much everything wrong with the sedan translates to the Model X as well. For starters, there’s the entry-level price that was perilously close to a six-digit figure in 2019 after the company decided to ax the previously-base 75-kWh battery pack. For MY 2020, entry-level models are dubbed “Long Range” and now start from $86,000 which, while certainly more attainable, still isn’t a price tag the average American can afford.

The EV company is obviously trying to distance the Model S and Model X from their Model 3 and Model Y counterparts, but in doing so is robbing the majority of people of an opportunity of owning a premium Tesla car. Not to mention shooting itself in a foot in a long run.

The Model X is appointed with a similar cabin as the Model S with the same 17-inch touchscreen display mounted on the center console and an abundance of highly advanced tech features including the controversial Tesla Autopilot.

After scrapping the smaller battery pack, every Model X is now offered with a large 100-kWh unit. Much like the Model S, the revamped Model X lineup consists of the Long Range and Performance models which all sport a permanent all-wheel drive setup consisting of one electric motor upon each axle. The difference is the former utilizes two 259-horsepower units while the latter uses a more powerful 503-horsepower unit at rear wheels giving it a 0 to 60 mph acceleration of 2.8 seconds thanks to the now-standard “Ludicrous Mode.”

It’s also worth mentioning that the Federal tax credit of $7,500 has first been halved for all future Tesla models considering the company has surpassed the 200,000 units quota. This amount was halved further during mid-2019 before disappearing altogether at the end of the year, leaving the 2020-year models only with state and local rebates where applicable. That’s the main reason behind Tesla’s decision to cut prices of their most luxurious models by such extensive margins and we at least gotta give them credit for that. Then again, dropping the base models from the lineup won’t be remembered as the most popular of moves.


Tesla Model X front 3/4 view

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!