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Prices, specs and trends

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1. Tesla Model Y: An electric SUV you might actually afford

Here comes the Tesla Model Y!

Tesla

  • Model Y is Tesla’s first mass-market SUV and it’s coming in the nick of time. Americans can’t get enough of them, as SUVs and crossovers make up almost half of U.S. auto sales. It’s the same story around the world – people just want bigger cars, and preferably for cheaper.
  • Model Y is a “baby SUV”, at least when you compare it to the falcon-winged Model X monster. But it still can accommodate seven people, thanks to a third row of seats.
  • If it looks a like a jacked-up Model 3, it’s because that’s pretty much what Model Y is. The new car is built on the Model 3 platform, with a roughly 10 percent increase in size – and a similar jump in price.

  • The cheapest Model Y will cost $39,000 when it starts shipping in Spring 2021. This Standard Range version will go for 230 miles and hit 60mph in an impressive 5.9 seconds.
  • At the top of the range, the Performance model will hit 280 miles in autonomy and reach 60mph in a whiplash-inducing 3.5 seconds. All for a cool $60,000, with deliveries in Fall 2020.
  • Model Y is compatible with the new V3 Superchargers, able to top up batteries at a rate of 1,000 miles per hour.
  • Missing: Model X-style falcon doors. Present: 66 cubic feet of storage space (that’s 1,870 liters for you sensible metric system users).

Tesla

Putting the Y into S3XY

  • 13-year-old Elon Musk would totally give 47-year-old Elon Musk a high five. With the launch of Model Y, Tesla now has a quartet of models that spell out S-3-X-Y. Musk initially wanted to call Model 3 “Model E”, but Ford had a claim on the name already. “Ford killed sex,” Musk likes to quip.
  • Like it did with Model 3, Tesla is going to sell the more expensive Model Y versions first. It’s a way to “subsidize” the production of the cheapest version. That’s literally always been part of the plan.
  • In his 2016 Master Plan Part Deux, Musk envisioned two mass-market vehicles – a sedan and an SUV. Now that we have them, the next big focus is autonomy.
  • Full self-driving will enable mass car-sharing, potentially enabling everyone to drive a Tesla (if not own one outright).
  • It’s a turbulent time for Tesla. The company just publicly gave itself a black eye by announcing it would mass-close its stores in order to reduce operation costs and make the promised $35,000 Model 3 possible.
  • Just two weeks later, Tesla walked back most of the changes. That’s, uhm, unusual for a company this big.
  • Critics will say Elon Musk is using the launch of Model Y to draw attention from Tesla’s mundane day-to-day struggles. They’re probably right. There’s always something big and exciting just around the corner.

Is the Model Y a big deal?

  • It’s a very big deal. Musk said Tesla would “probably do more Model Ys than (Model) S, (Model) X, (Model) 3 combined, most likely.”
  • If you want to give Tesla a hand, Model Y orders are now open.

2. Google’s new mid-range Pixel phones could be called Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL (AA)


3. Apple has a new ad touting the iPhone’s privacy focus. The last time it bragged about privacy, a Facetime snafu made Apple look pretty silly. (Engadget)


4. The reason you couldn’t use Facebook (or WhatsApp or Instagram) on Wednesday? A “server configuration change”. You don’t want to be in the shoes of the culprit right now. (Engadget) Meanwhile, Telegram welcomed millions of new users during the Facebook outage. (Gizmodo)


5. A surprise update to the Steam Link app means you’ll be able to stream your Steam games to your Android device from anywhere. (AA)


6. Huawei is targeting a huge 50 percent of the massive Chinese smartphone market. Despite roadblocks in the U.S., Huawei seems unstoppable. (SCMP)


7. Police in India arrested ten college students after they were caught playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on mobile. The game is banned in the Indian state of Gujarat because it’s considered too violent and addictive. (The Verge)


8. Not all places on the internet are as nice and friendly as Dgit Daily. If you hate toxic comments, Alphabet-owned Jigsaw has a Chrome extension for you. (The Verge)


9. The hottest chat app for teens? It’s – apparently – Google Docs. I bet you didn’t see this one coming. (The Atlantic)


10. Samsung wants full-screen phones with embedded cameras, but it might take a while (Spoiler: at least 1-2 years) (AA)


11. Remember Mount Gox, the crypto exchange that went down in flames and accusations of embezzlement? It looks like founder Mark Karpeles is going to walk without jail time. (Bloomberg)


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