Tesla appears to be ramping up US production of the Model Y. Just days ago, trailers were pulling out of Fremont to deliver the first Model Y vehicles to Tesla Delivery Centers. Now, several preorder holders are confirming that they have gotten their VIN numbers. What’s more, this information gives some insight into Tesla’s Model Y production ramp.
How to read a VIN
This news first broke on the Tesla Motors Club forum and Reddit earlier today. According to several independent sources, Tesla has now begun to send out VIN numbers for Model Y reservation holders.
A VIN, or “Vehicle Identification Number”, is the unique code which identifies a specific automobile. The VIN could, therefore, be thought of as a car’s “fingerprint” or DNA code. Furthermore, it holds a surprising amount of information about the specific vehicle.
The first number of characters denote where the vehicle is built, its fuel and engine, the manufacturer and model year. The following image, from AutoCheck, gives an exhaustive breakdown of the parts of a VIN.
Last six VIN characters show a vehicle’s serial number
In Tesla’s case, the first three characters will be “5YJ”, which tells us that Tesla builds the vehicle. The fourth character signifies the vehicle’s model (Y for Model Y), and the fifth the body type (G for SUV).
The VIN also notes the vehicle’s restraint system, battery type, drive unit, a “check digit” as well as a character for the model year and where the vehicle is built (F for Fremont). However, the VIN’s last six characters are the really interesting ones.
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Specifically, the last six characters reveal the serial number of the vehicle. This allows observers and VIN holders to guesstimate a vehicle’s total production numbers. What’s more, these come in handy when one wants to estimate total Model Y production.
VINs suggest 800+ Model Y vehicles
According to one Tesla Motors Club user, his wife recently got her Model Y VIN. The last six characters of the specific VIN are “0004XX”, or in the four hundreds. This suggests that the vehicle is over the 400th Model Y, if Tesla is building cars in sequential VIN order.
Another Tesla Motors Club user from South California notes having a VIN ending in “0008XX”. As such, it would appear that Tesla may have already built over 800 Model Ys. In comparison, the first month of Model 3 production, July 2017, saw just over 30 Model 3s built.
Pre-production Model Y cars likely not included in VIN tally
Impressively, this approximation of 800 Model Ys likely doesn’t include pre-production Model Y vehicles. Leaks of pre-production Model Y vehicles reveal their VINs had an “R” as the sixth character from the end. Production vehicles, on the other hand, have a zero instead.
However, it is not entirely certain that Tesla is, in fact, building cars in sequential VIN order. Many Model 3 vehicles were built in batches according to trims rather than sequential VINs. Nevertheless, the Model Y trims currently in production are fairly spartan.
As such, Tesla may have already built over 800 Model Y vehicles. Deliveries will officially begin on March 15th, so the situation will likely become clearer until then. What’s more, we will have more data to draw conclusions from as more reservation holders receive their VINs.