Refreshed Tesla Model 3 breaks cover

    Tesla Model 3 facelift gets up to 8 percent more range, fresh styling, and more features.

    Published On Sep 01, 2023 12:27:00 PM

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    Tesla has rolled out a substantially update for the Model 3 EV sedan. With this, the brand claims that more than 50 percent of the car’s components have been refreshed based on customer feedback. 

    1. New Model 3 has a drag coefficient of 0.21
    2. Gets new-look steering wheel
    3. Drive selector now operated via touchscreen

    Tesla Model 3: styling updates

    With the new Model 3, Tesla says the updates have been made keeping refinement and passenger comfort in prime focus. Known by its internal codename ‘Project Highland’, the updated Model 3 has been the subject of much speculation since the first clues were revealed in late-2022. 

    The most obvious change for the new Tesla Model 3 is its heavily overhauled front end, which is said to reduce drag in pursuit of more kilometers per charge, while also reducing wind noise when cruising.

    Tesla emphasises that it is “staying true to the sleek, uncluttered design aesthetic” of the Model 3, and indeed, the new headlights and revised lower bumper are the most significant visual changes, with the rest of the car largely unaltered – save for the integration of new C-shaped rear light clusters into the bootlid.

    Other functional visual tweaks include the introduction of aero-optimised wheel designs, said to be 5 percent more slippery, and 'improved' tyre sidewalls for the 18-inch or 19-inch wheels, which enhance cushioning while reducing road noise – the latter is assisted by the introduction of double-glazed windows all around, and new suspension and rubber seals.  

    Tesla Model 3: range and performance

    The changes are also said to amount to a tangible improvement in rolling refinement and efficiency. With the front fog lights removed for a sleeker front end, and a new air curtain installed at the trailing edge of the reshaped bonnet, the new Model 3 has a drag coefficient of 0.219, down from an already impressive Cd of 0.23.

    The result, Tesla claims, is a boost in its range of between 5 percent and 8 percent, depending on specifications. The standard rear-wheel-drive model now has an official range of up to 554km  (up from 491km), while the Long Range model has an official claimed range of 677km (up from 634km). Charging speeds are unchanged – the standard car tops out at 170kW and the Long Range version boosts that to 250kW. 

    As for straight-line speed, the brand quotes a 0-100kph time of 6.1 seconds for the 248hp entry-level variant, and 4.4 seconds for the 355hp Long Range version, both of which use the same powertrains as the pre-facelift car. Both top out at 200kph. The brand has yet to confirm figures for the 462hp, four-wheel-drive Model 3 Performance, but based on the current car's range, it should manage around 580km per charge. 

    Tesla Model 3: interior and features 

    Tesla also highlights that the front and rear doors have been structurally reinforced to withstand heavier impacts – a move made in line with stricter crash regulations that dictate all cars must be able to withstand a collision with an SUV, given their increasing popularity. A by-product, according to Tesla representatives, is that they have a better-sounding ‘clunk’ when closing the door, helping to boost the car's perceived quality. The Model 3's cabin has been refreshed too, ushering in an even more minimalist look. The brighter, more responsive, 15.4-inch touchscreen has a slimmer surround, and the steering column has lost its stalks. Indicators are now operated by buttons on the new steering wheel and the drive selector has become a touchscreen icon. 

    Tesla also highlights an improvement in cabin quality, thanks to the use of real aluminium for the redesigned centre console, upmarket textiles, and “elevated levels of execution”. There are now two wireless phone chargers and three USB-C charging ports, plus an 8.0-inch rear display with climate control and infotainment functions built in.  

    The updated Model 3 will go on sale in international markets gradually starting next year. It is expected that the closely related Tesla Model Y will follow suit with a similar package of upgrades, but Tesla has given no indication of when this will be. 

    Tesla in India

    Tesla’s India entry has been delayed due to policy related issues. Reports suggest that Tesla India management met top government officials earlier in May this year to resume talks on taxes and production, but there is still no clarity on when Tesla will actually start selling cars in India.

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