Before we start this, there hasn't been a case of a Model Y import yet into Bangladesh. This review and pictures were taken in the middle of a very sunny afternoon in Northern Virginia. I had the opportunity to take a Tesla Model Y for a spin and could not help but think how seamlessly it would fit into the nook and cranny laden streets of our beloved Dhaka. The so-called "electric revolution" has slowly been taking over Bangladesh with the increasing number of all-electric vehicles starting from a few Teslas to a full-blown arsenal of Porsche Taycans, it is only a matter of time until they are a common sight. Electric vehicles in Bangladesh are far from a mainstream commodity and still cater almost exclusively to the luxury car buyer market. Now to yield to the point, Y the Y is an ideal car for Bangladesh.
What no one tells you about driving a Tesla
A thrust pedal is the aptest way to describe a Tesla throttle. It is where you press the throttle and as the car gets up to speed, you let go of the throttle and let the car "coast" as it maintains speed. By calling the Tesla throttle an on/off switch, I mean that the car starts slowing down the moment you ease your foot off the pedal. It is in a constant state of engine braking and in theory with a trained enough foot, one can yield a Tesla without the need of the second pedal at all. This is one-foot driving at its finest.
Complexity in simplicity
The interior is bare: seats, screen and driving controls are all you get with the Model Y. Minimalism as a concept has taken off in the past few years and it is evident in no other automaker as much as it is in the Tesla design language. No fuss, no buttons. A massive screen through which you can control virtually everything, starting from how you want your regenerative braking to work, to adjusting the side mirrors. Even the trunk and the frunk is opened through the tap of a finger on the screen. What seems simple at first glance is far from it, as this is one of the most intricate systems I have ever tinkered with, yet one of the most intuitive. It is less of a car infotainment system and more of a mobile phone user interface, which is one of the biggest compliments I can give to any infotainment system.
The Driving Experience - Why a Y would be so good on Dhaka streets
The light turned green and I punched it. The Model Y sounds like a spaceship; a faint mechanical whine is the only thing audible as you see the numbers on the screen rise. Four seconds and I was already over 100km/h and climbing, far more than the speed limit had permitted at that specific stretch of road. Off the line performance is immense which is exactly what you need on Dhaka roads at times. The Model Y is essentially a taller Model 3, hence you sit higher and visibility is much improved over the smaller counterpart. The steering is on point; many modern name brands do not have such precise on-centre feeling. Stability is aided by the low centre of gravity due to the battery packs sitting as low as they do.
Vegan Leather. Tesla has moved to completely cruelty-free material for the interior elements including the seats and it is more supple than any leather has felt in this range and a few steps beyond. This new synthetic material is super soft and is said to be quite resistant to abuse and colour transfer from clothing, making the white interior a long term and viable option, along with being an ideal cushion for the unending potholes around every street of Dhaka.
It takes some getting used to, but the Y forms an extension around you. It just listens in a sense that it will accelerate with as much potency as you require it to and will come to a halt with as much dominance as you ask of it. Now, why would this be ideal for Dhaka? Precisely for that reason. Let there be no sugarcoating, Dhaka streets are a warzone. With narrow gaps, the need for swift maneuvers is a necessity. Although it will take a little getting used to, to keep this car under control as it is almost too easy to lose track of how fast one is going, once that has been addressed, this car is more than ideal.
Y the Y is not so great for Dhaka streets
Charging is the main issue that plagues every electric car in Dhaka and is the main barrier for it to be an ideal daily driver. If you have read our previous feature on a Model S, that car took around 44 hours to fully charge on a traditional 3 pin socket. While a Tesla provided wall charger unit can do that in around a tenth of that time, but that is hardly a common commodity. Pair that with inaccessible charging outlets in the parking space of most apartments, it makes recharging a massive inconvenience.
Another possible issue is repairs. Tesla has notoriously been gatekeeping the repair process in their cars, refusing to supply parts and only allowing their cars to be repaired and programmed in specific Tesla repair facilities. A car is an appliance, and like all appliances, cars go wrong in some way or the other. To what extent will repairing your Tesla be a source of headache is yet to be found.
The Y is still not an ideal everyday car, but it makes one hell of a once-every-few-days car. It is recommended that you get the Long Range car as charging opportunities are sparse and the Performance version comes with 21-inch wheels and thin sidewall tires which add to the stiff ride quality. Paired with Dhaka roads, I would opt for the smaller wheels on the Long Range car. It is fast and zippy, shares every characteristic of a Model 3 but adds that bit of practicality with the added room and visibility. Electric cars have been sneered upon by car enthusiasts ever since their advent, and frankly it is absurd to reach 100km/h that fast without a cacophony of noises deafening me from behind. But it is absurd. Electric cars are absurdly good. I am not an EV evangelist and I would be the first person to pick a petrol engine over anything that runs on charge, but there is no denying that this is good. The electric revolution has taken over the world and with the influence of a few brave Tesla buying and importing pioneers, Bangladesh may not be too far off.