Tesla gets quick EPA approval for mysterious new Model Y variant

Tesla obviously got an EPA approval for a new variant of the all-electric Model Y crossover. A new 279-mile version of Tesla’s most popular vehicle has appeared on the EPA’s fuel economy website. last night, confirming that the vehicle was tested by the agency.

Teslarati recently reported that Tesla is awaiting EPA approval for the Austin-built Model Y, based on a company statement in the Q4 2021 Shareholder Deck. We reported that Tesla had received approval for previous Model Y variants, but not for the new configuration that was to be built at Gigafactory Texas. This model would not only equip Tesla’s new 4680 battery cells, but also the structural battery pack. However, the new Model Y variant, according to FuelEconomy.gov, only equips 279 miles of range, which seems to indicate that it is not the 4680-equipped Model Y that Tesla would initially ship to customers. Inside electric vehicles initially reported the appearance of the new Model Y variant on the Fuel Economy website.

In January, Tesla announced that it had produced its millionth 4680 battery cell at the Kato Road facility in Northern California. While this was an accomplishment that Tesla was obviously proud of, it was not necessarily confirmation that 4680 cells were ready to be fitted in large numbers of Model Y vehicles. 1 million 4680 cells would produce approximately 1,200 Model Y vehicles, according to industry researcher Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

The 279-mile-rated Model Y that appeared on FuelEconomy.gov may be an LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) cell, which Tesla and other automakers have started using for their Standard Range vehicles.

Tesla applied for and received approval for the new Model Y in February

The EPA received a request from Tesla on Feb. 2, according to agency filings. The EPA then granted a certificate of conformity for this application on February 16, which could indicate that Tesla has received approval to begin delivering this mysterious new variant of the 279-mile Model Y.

Interestingly, Tesla also applied for another EPA certification for a Model Y variant. The application was submitted on February 23, but did not receive a certificate of conformity, which would allow the car to enter the current commerce, from the EPA from March 13.

At this time, Tesla does not have a 279-mile Model Y variant listed in its design studio. Only the Long Range All-Wheel-Drive and Performance variants are available to order. It could, however, start offering the variant in the next few days, especially if the company plans to roll out a new Standard Range configuration that could equip LFP cells. Tesla made this decision with the Model 3 in August 2021. As Tesla struggled with high order volume for the Model 3, the company informed customers awaiting delivery that they could upgrade to another bundle that it used in Europe and Asia. This is the LFP pack available in Shanghai-built 3 models since 2020. Due to its sensitivity in cold weather and other situations, the pack offers lower range ratings. The LFP 3 model only has 253 miles of range.

CEO Elon Musk explained the benefits of the LFP pack last year. “Our intention with this pack is for the product experience to be roughly equivalent between nickel and iron,” the CEO said. “I would personally go slightly for the iron pack, as it wants to be 100% charged, while the nickel prefers ~90%.”

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Tesla gets quick EPA approval for mysterious new Model Y variant