Tesla’s New RWD Model Y With $43,990 Starting MSRP

Laurance Yap
October 13, 2023
Tesla has announced a new entry-level version of the world's best-selling car, the Model Y SUV. The new Model Y RWD has an EPA-estimated range of 260 miles and a very attractive value proposition.
Tesla Model Y parked on a city road

Lower Price for Best-Selling Electric SUV

Tesla is the best-selling electric car brand in the U.S., and the Tesla Model Y is the best-selling vehicle in the world. Still, competition in the EV market is getting tougher and tougher, with more manufacturers introducing new models as the transition to zero-emissions driving accelerates. But, since Tesla controls both its products and its retail network, it has been able to respond by quickly adjusting the content and pricing of its vehicles to stay competitive. And early in October, Tesla announced a new entry-level Model Y, with a starting MSRP of under $45,000.

Tesla Model Y by the river

Made in the USA, Eligible for EV Incentives

Entering the Model Y lineup priced at $43,990 before incentives is the new Model Y RWD – by our recollection, the first two-wheel drive Model Y. Now the cheapest Model Y after Tesla cancelled the base Model Y AWD, the Model Y RWD is also eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, as it’s built in the U.S., and uses locally-sourced battery components. That means, after factoring in $1,640 for destination and ordering fees, you could potentially be driving a Model Y for an effective price of $38,130.

For that sum, you get a very well-equipped crossover electric SUV with excellent technology. The base Model Y RWD comes on 19-inch wheels, has a well-designed and spacious interior with a large central touchscreen and all of the convenience features you could want. Drivers in warmer climates likely won’t miss the extra traction of the all-wheel drive of other Model Y versions, but they may miss the acceleration: the RWD goes from 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds instead of 5.0 seconds for the more powerful dual-motor versions. Still, that’s faster than just about every gasoline-powered SUV on the market.

Tesla Model Y driving on the road

Less Range and Charging Speed

While Tesla is mum on the new Model Y RWD’s battery capacity, Tesla says that it has the same peak charging rate of 170 kW as the entry-level Model 3 RWD sedan, which uses less-expensive lithium-metal-phosphate (LFP) cells. In addition to being less expensive to make, LFP cells actually tend to hold very well over time, though they cannot charge or discharge quite as quickly. Other Model Ys are equipped with lithium-ion cells and can charge on a Level 3 charger at up to 250 kW.

As for range, Tesla claims the EPA-estimated range for the Model Y RWD is a decent, but not outstanding, at up to 260 miles – 70 miles less than the Long Range versions, which are rated by the EPA at up to 330 miles (opting for larger wheels can slightly reduce estimated range). Top speed remains fixed at 135 mph for most models, except for the top-tier Model Y Performance, which can achieve 155 mph.

Tesla Model Y on the road

Tesla Model Y: Pricing

With the introduction of the new rear-wheel drive version, the Tesla Model Y lineup looks like this:

  • Model Y RWD with 19-inch wheels: $43,990 starting MSRP
  • Model Y RWD with 20-inch wheels: $45,990 starting MSRP
  • Model Y Long Range AWD with 19-inch wheels: $50,490 starting MSRP
  • Model Y Long Range AWD with 20-inch wheels: $52,490 starting MSRP
  • Model Y Performance AWD with 21-inch wheels: $54,490 starting MSRP

All Model Ys are subject to a destination fee of $1,390 and order fee of $250, but all are eligible for $7,500 in federal tax incentives. Factor in state and local incentives and the new RWD Tesla Model Y may be a very strong value for those looking to purchase their first electric vehicle.

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