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Tesla's new, cheaper Model Y is one of the best deals you can get on an EV right now

Tim Levin   

Tesla's new, cheaper Model Y is one of the best deals you can get on an EV right now
  • Tesla launched a new, cheaper version of its popular Model Y SUV.
  • The rear-wheel-drive Model Y costs $43,990.

Frustrated by the lack of affordable, cool electric cars on the market? Tesla has heard your prayers.

Elon Musk's carmaker quietly launched a new base model of its popular Model Y SUV — and it's instantly one of the best deals on the US electric-vehicle market.

A new rear-wheel-drive Model Y appeared on Tesla's website on Monday with a price of $43,990. Factoring in the full $7,500 federal tax credit for electric-vehicle purchases (which isn't available for every EV) drops the effective cost to $36,490.

For comparison, the average price of a new car in August was a whopping $48,451, according to Kelley Blue Book. The next cheapest Model Y costs $50,490.

Tesla estimates range at a decent 260 miles for the new RWD version, which is less than most other Tesla models, but still pretty competitive given the price.

EVs have suffered from a persistent affordability problem. The cheapest ones out there typically don't offer much range, are smaller than most people prefer, aren't terribly cutting-edge, or a combination of all of those things.

The electric Mini Cooper costs around $30,000 but it's tiny and only offers 115 miles of range. The Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV (a small hatchback and SUV, respectively) will run you even less than that, but they're built on an aging platform that lags behind the latest technology. The same goes for the Nissan Leaf, another hatchback.

This isn't to say that none of those vehicles are worth buying. But the introduction of the RWD Model Y means shoppers who want lots of interior space, renowned Tesla technology, access to the brand's vast charging network, and a price point in the mid-$30,000 range, now have a hot new option.

The Volkswagen ID.4 Pro SUV, which costs $43,995, is eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, and provides an estimated 275 miles of range, is another good choice.

The Kia Niro EV ($39,550) and Hyundai Kona EV ($33,550) are in the same ballpark as the new Model Y with regard to price and range, but they aren't as newfangled or exciting as some EV buyers might want. VW, Hyundai, and Kia haven't made deals to access Tesla's Supercharger network like some rivals have.

But remember: To access the full tax credit — and thus the Model Y's lowest price — you need to make less than $150,000 as an individual or less than $300,000 as a married couple.

Do you love or hate your Tesla or other EV? Never giving up gasoline in a million years? We want to hear your thoughts about EVs and the auto market. Contact this reporter at

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