Tesla will release a cheaper Model Y with bigger batteries soon

You can buy one now if you're an employee.

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If you've been pining for a Tesla EV using one of the company's higher-capacity 4680 battery cells, it's finally here — though you'll probably have to wait a short while. Electrek has learned Tesla is selling the Model Y in a new Standard Range AWD variant that uses the 4680 cells to offer 279 miles of range and a five-second 0-60MPH time for $59,990 ($3,000 less than the Long Range AWD), but only to employees at present. A version for everyday buyers will be available in the weeks ahead, according to Electrek's sources at the company.

This Model Y also includes a few features not seen on any previous trim level, such as a magnetic center armrest and a parcel shelf. Tesla reportedly delivered a handful of these EVs to workers at its "Giga Rodeo" event in Texas last week.

The 4680 cells are twice as large as Tesla's existing units, but they have five times the capacity. That lets Tesla either extend the range of its vehicles or use fewer batteries to maintain the same range, potentially shrinking costs. In the new Model Y version, they're implemented in a structural battery pack that should reduce complexity and weight, further improving efficiency.

As such, this Model Y isn't so much an expansion of the lineup as an important step in Tesla's product strategy. While it may take a while before you see the new battery tech reach every Tesla EV, it should help keep prices in check, improve range and eventually lead to the fabled $25,000 car.