Tesla Model Y = 2020 CleanTechnica Car of the Year

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Published on January 8th, 2021 | by Zachary Shahan

January 8th, 2021 by  

It’s time to announce the 2020 CleanTechnica Car of the Year. The winner this time around was a given, as it is widely expected to become the best selling electric vehicle in the world. In the United States and Canada — the only places it is currently being delivered — it is already the best selling electric vehicle.

We are, of course, talking about the Tesla Model Y.

The Model Y excels in essentially every category. It offers superhero-level performance, a cavern worth of cargo space, Tesla’s unmatched tech (infotainment as well as driver-assist tech), great range, style good enough for Hollywood stars, the best efficiency of any SUV, improved trim compared to the enormously popular Model 3 vehicles that came before it, and competitive pricing.

I have yet to see a review that doesn’t gush praise on the Model Y, and I’m yet to find an SUV that can fully match this electric powerhouse.

The Model Y accelerates like a sports car, handles almost as nicely as a Model 3 despite having approximately 50% more cargo volume (68 cu ft versus 43 cu ft), has the biggest and best infotainment screen in the world (the same as the Model 3’s), has market-leading Autopilot as well as “Full Self-Driving” if you choose that more advanced driver-assist option, and produces zero emissions.

The three different Model Y options in terms of acceleration from 0–60 mph are as follows:

  • 3.5 seconds — Model Y Performance
  • 4.8 seconds — Model Y Long Range
  • 5.3 seconds — Model Y Standard Range

Photo by well known covid-19 precautions. Photo by Casey Murphy/EVANNEX.

For more detailed reviews of the Model Y, see:

  1. Tesla Model Y Review From Owner Of Full Tesla S-3-X-Y Lineup
  2. Tesla Model Y & Model 3 Owner Shares 1st Thoughts On Model Y (CleanTechnica Review)
  3. The Ultimate Tesla Showdown: Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model Y
  4. My First Impressions Of Driving A Tesla Model Y
  5. New Tesla Model Y Owner Is Highly Enthusiastic (Video Review)
  6. Tesla Model Y Offers “Disconnected Bliss” On Weekend Road Trips, Outside Magazine
  7. The Ultimate Tesla Showdown: Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model Y
  8. Tesla Model Y Compared To Tesla Model 3, Model S, & Model X — From S3XY Owner
  9. Tesla Model Y Performance — 1st Dynamic Driving Review (Video)
  10. Jay Leno’s Tesla Model Y Review (Video)

Aside from straight-up reviews, we’ve also published cost of ownership analyses for the Model Y and competitors. Such analyses are based on numerous assumptions, but across the board, using moderate assumptions, the Model Y outcompetes inferior gasoline SUV competitors.

For more details, see:

  1. Tesla Model Y Price Drops — New Cost of Ownership vs. Lexus RX
  2. Save $39,000 to $114,000 Driving the Tesla Model Y, the World’s Best Crossover
  3. Tesla Model Y vs. Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S

Overall, we expect great things from the Model Y. I suspect that it could sell more than a million vehicles a year, easily. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.

2021 CleanTechnica Car of the Year Contenders

While we’re here, I’ll briefly share contenders for the 2021 CleanTechnica Car of the Year awards. In coming weeks, we’ll publish more in-depth content on these vehicles. In the meantime, scroll through and let us know if it seems there are any electric vehicle models coming that need to be added or moved.

  • Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Lucid Air
  • Polestar 2
  • Rivian R1T
  • Volkswagen ID.3
  • Volkswagen ID.4
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge

CleanTechnica Car of the Year Rules

A year’s award period is the last two quarters of the previous year and the first two quarters of the award year. So, to qualify for the 2020 award, a vehicle had to go to market in the 2nd half of 2019 or 1st half of 2020. To qualify for the 2020 award, a vehicle had to go to market in the 2nd half of 2019 or 1st half of 2020.

There are many factors we consider with these awards, but the prime factor is trying to determine which vehicle will have the greatest long-term positive impact on the world. 


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Selling Teslas in 2012 vs. 2021

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About the Author

is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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