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Tesla Unveils 2nd Mass-Market EV: The Model Y

Tesla Model Y. Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company's second mass-market electric vehicle at its Southern California design studio Thursday night: the Model Y.


The car is a compact SUV that will have a range of 300 miles, The Verge reported. Three versions will be available for sale in fall of 2020: a $47,000 long-range version, a $51,000 all-wheel drive dual-motor version and a $60,000 performance version. A cheaper standard version with a 230 mile range will sell for $39,000, but won't be available until 2021.


The Model Y looks essentially like a larger version of the Model 3, the company's first mast-market car, according to The Verge. The Model 3 just became available for its target $35,000 price two weeks ago, three years after the car was first announced.

The announcement comes at a difficult time for Tesla, BBC News reported. Musk was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2018 after tweeting about Tesla going private. The launch in 2019 of the $35,000 Model 3 came with a decision to lower prices across the board, at the expense of closing the majority of the company's retail outlets. But customers, employees and landlords complained, so the company reversed course and raise prices again, except for on the Model 3s, according to The Verge and BBC News.

In addition, Consumer Reports revoked its recommendation of the Mode 3 in February, saying customers had reported problems with body hardware, paint and trim.

Executive Director of Industry Analysis at Edmunds Jessica Caldwell told The Verge the Model Y could be an important car for Tesla if it plays its cards right, seeing as SUVs currently sell very well in the U.S.:

"If Tesla truly wants to be a mainstream brand, it's going to have to figure out how to sell cars to people besides young men in California," Caldwell said in a statement. "Tesla has the right foundation for the Model Y to be a turning point: Tesla has the youngest buyer base of any luxury brand, and the Model X has more female buyers than any other vehicle in the brand's lineup. If the Model Y is priced right, offers a roomy interior, and delivers flawless safety and quality, it has the potential to be the 'it' vehicle for young families."

But Tesla does have competition. Most German automakers either already do or soon will ship electric SUVs.

Transit, driven largely by fossil-fuel-powered cars and other land vehicles, is the fastest growing source of climate-change causing emissions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO.) The sector is also currently responsible for the largest share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at 28 percent, according to the most up-to-date data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."

Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.

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"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.

Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.

Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.

"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.

Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.