DIMO Ad (EVSpeedy)

Why Are Some Tesla Model Y’s Rear-Wheel Drive? 3 Reasons

Every new Tesla is an all-wheel drive, except the Model 3 base or standard variant. Tesla Model Ys that are currently available in the US, i.e., Performance and Long Range, are AWDs (all-wheel drive) with a dual motor powertrain. But Europe has Tesla Model Ys with rear-wheel drive (RWD). Why is that?

The Tesla Model Y Standard is rear-wheel drive because it is an entry-level variant with a single motor powertrain, priced significantly less than the Long Range and Performance trims. This affordable option enables Tesla to cater to the demands in countries such as Europe and Asia. 

Europe isn’t the only market where the Tesla Model Y is currently available as a Standard range with rear-wheel drive. Asian markets, such as Singapore, and Australia, among others, already have Tesla Model Y rear-wheel drive on the roads. Read on to know why these Ys are RWDs.

Reasons Why Tesla Model Y Standard Is Rear Wheel Drive

Tesla envisioned the Model Y in 3 avatars:

  • Standard Range
  • Long Range
  • Performance

The Tesla Model Y was designed as a compact or midsize SUV. Most people referred to the Y, irrespective of the optional specs and trims, as a larger and roomier version of the Model 3 sedan.

The Tesla Model Y Performance was intended to sport only an all-wheel drive powertrain, which is the current configuration for this trim. However, the Tesla Model Y Long Range was supposed to have 2 variants:

  • All wheel drive
  • Rear wheel drive

Following the official announcement and subsequent development of the Tesla Model Y, the rear-wheel drive variant of its Long Range trim went into limbo and eventually was canceled. Tesla, infamous for its PR protocols, took a long time to make the cancellation official and public.

Hence, the Tesla Model Y Standard is the only variant to feature a rear-wheel drive powertrain. But it is not currently listed as an option on the Tesla US website. For all anyone knows, Tesla has quietly canceled the Model Y Standard with rear-wheel drive in the US.

Tesla_Model_Y_Grey
“Tesla Model Y grey (2)” by Damian B Oh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

So, why are Tesla Model Y’s Standard variants in Asia, Australia, and Europe rear-wheel drive? Here are the 3 reasons.

Tesla Model Y Rear Wheel Drive Is Cheaper Than All Wheel Drive

The Tesla Model Y Standard is an entry-level variant. The battery-electric vehicle has only one electric motor powering the rear-wheel drivetrain. Both Long Range and Performance variants of the Tesla Model Y have a dual motor powertrain for the all-wheel drivetrain.

Naturally, the Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive with a standard range is significantly cheaper than the other trims. Here’s a glimpse of the differences in the prices of these Tesla Model Ys:

Country/RegionModel Y Long RangeModel Y PerformanceModel Y Rear Wheel Drive
Belgium€ 65,990€ 70,000€ 49,990
France€ 64,990€ 69,990€ 49,990
Germany€ 56,990€ 65,490€ 53,990
Italy€ 65,990€ 71,990€ 49,990
Netherlands€ 65,990€ 70,000€ 49,990
Spain€ 65,990€ 70,000€ 51,200
SwitzerlandCHF 64,990CHF 71,000CHF 54,990
United Kingdom£ 57,990£ 67,990£ 51,990

(Sources: Tesla France, Tesla Germany, Tesla Italy, Tesla Netherlands, Tesla Spain, Tesla Switzerland, Tesla Great Britain)

You will find similar price differences between the Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive and the all-wheel drive Long Range and Performance trim in all the other European markets, including but not limited to the following:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxemburg
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal

There’s a Demand for an Entry Level Tesla Model Y (Standard Range)

Tesla Model Y Long Range and Performance are not entry-level battery electric vehicles by any standard, irrespective of the country or market you select. So, there is an enormous demand for an affordable Model Y, like one with a standard range and not necessarily an all-wheel drive.

Some owners that have received their Tesla Model Y rear-wheel drive are already claiming it to be the “Family SUV of the Year.” Here’s a couple all the way from Down Under driving their Tesla Model Y RWD for the first time: 

The demand is equally high in the US and probably Canada, too, as it is in the UK and Europe. It doesn’t take an algorithm to track the preferences of those interested in a Tesla Model Y. 

The Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive is cheaper by $15,000 to more than $20,000 than the other trims, regardless of the currency. 

Sure, the price differences are not as much in Germany or Great Britain as they are in the other regions. But the Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive is the cheapest trim in all markets. Add to that fact the roomier interior, larger trunk, and frunk storage, and the reasons a family wants an SUV and you have a highly in-demand vehicle.

Tesla Model Y Rear Wheel Drive Retains Many Features of AWD Models

The Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive is an entry-level or standard variant, so it doesn’t offer the long-range and a few other performance attributes of the other trims. Here are a few differences:

Tesla Features/SpecsModel Y Long RangeModel Y PerformanceModel Y RWD
Range1 or Mileage331 miles (532 km)319 miles (513.4 km)267 mi (430 km)
Acceleration (0-60mph)4.8 seconds3.5 seconds6.6 seconds
Powertrain / DrivetrainDual motorDual motorSingle motor

1These range estimates are as per the WLTP, which are ~10% higher than the US EPA data.

Apart from these differences, the Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive shares many of the significant features and specifications of the Long Range and Performance trims. Here are a few attributes:

  • Tesla’s Model Y Standard with rear-wheel drive and Long Range (all-wheel drive) have a similar top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h), although the Performance line can max out at 155 mph (250 km/hr).
  • The RWD variant has many of the same options as the other trims, such as the default paint, the type of wheel you can choose, and the interior features, including the seating layout.
  • All Tesla Model Ys have optional upgrades, such as a tow hitch, enhanced autopilot, and full self-driving capability, so you have to pay extra for these, even for the expensive Long Range and Performance trims.

Therefore, acceleration and range are the only two issues that you will experience as practical differences. A vast section of Tesla’s target market doesn’t obsess about these minor aspects when one can save thousands. So, Tesla Model Y has a rear-wheel drive standard variant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Tesla Model Y Is Rear Wheel Drive?

The only Tesla Model Y with a rear-wheel drive powertrain is the Standard Range. This model is currently available only in Asia, Australia, and Europe. It is not available in the United States.

What Is the Cost of a Tesla Model Y Rear Wheel Drive?

The cost of a Tesla Model Y rear wheel drive is around €41,000 in Europe, excl. VAT, which is approximately $40,000 (USD). This is about $15,000 to $20,000 cheaper than other trim models.


If you found this article helpful, feel free to give us a thumbs up by sharing it on your social media platform of choice. You can also check out these 15 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

Contact Us if you have any questions or queries.

Tesla-Gift-Box-Ideas
Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.