Mid-size electric SUV gains 393km entry-level variant, third-row option to open the new year.
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The 2021 Tesla Model Y Standard Range has gone on sale in the US, alongside a long-awaited seven-seat option for the brand's mid-size SUV.

Added to Tesla's US online configurator over the weekend, the rear-wheel-drive Model Y Standard Range is priced from US$41,990 (AU$54,500) – some US$8000 less than the previous cheapest Model Y on offer, the US$49,990 (AU$65,000) all-wheel-drive Long Range.

EPA-rated range for the new entry-level model is rated at 393km – down a not-insignificant 132km over the 525km claimed by the Model Y Long Range, but on par with the 402km claim posted by the upcoming US$39,995 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro due to arrive in the US in mid-2021.

Tesla claims a 5.3-second 0-60mph (97km/h) sprint time for the Standard Range, half a second slower than the Long Range's 4.8-second claim. Both cars claim a top speed of 217km/h.

Tesla's 'Premium Interior' is standard on the new entry-level car, which includes 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, a 14-speaker sound system, satellite navigation, power-folding heated side mirrors, heated rear seats, tinted glass roof and Tesla's full infotainment system, controlled via a 15-inch central screen.

It's worth noting the production specifications for the 'base' Model Y considerably exceed those released when the Standard Range was first announced at the mid-size SUV's global unveiling in March 2019, with figures announced at the time comprising a 370km range, 5.9-second 0-97km/h time and a 193km/h top speed.

However, the 2021 model's US$41,990 starting price exceeds the US$39,000 (AU$50,600) figure announced nearly two years ago.

The fact the Model Y Standard Range has seen the light of day at all has come at a surprise to many, given CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter in July 2020 the variant would be axed, as its sub-250-mile (402km) range was deemed "unacceptably low".

The rear-wheel-drive Long Range announced by Musk at the time as a replacement has yet to surface.

Alongside the arrival of the Standard Range, Tesla has introduced the long-promised seven-seat option for the Model Y.

First announced at the car's reveal in 2019, the third row of seats can be had for an additional US$3000, adding a pair of (albeit tight) flat-folding seats behind the existing five, complemented by USB-C ports for the third row, a sliding and folding second row with adjustable seat-backs, and electronic seat-back releases in the boot.

The 2021 Tesla Model Y Standard Range and third-row option are now available to order in the US, with deliveries for the former to commence in two to five weeks.

However, Australian timing for the wider Model Y range remains unclear, with Tesla's local arm still yet to lock in an arrival date. A local launch in late 2021 or sometime in 2022 is probable, but with right-hand-drive production yet to commence for any global market, when the model will arrive on Australian shores remains anyone's guess.

CarAdvice has reached out to Tesla Australia for an update, and will update this story with its reply.