Tesla Debuts New Model 3 In China Ahead of US – Confirmed reports indicate that Tesla has been discreetly working on an updated iteration of the Model 3. This fresh version, previously codenamed the “Highland” refresh, was unveiled today in Shanghai and is presently open for orders from Chinese and European customers.
However, there is no confirmed release date for the United States at this time. This development marks an unusual move for Tesla, as it signifies the first instance of the company launching a new Model 3 model in China ahead of the United States. According to Reuters, this strategic decision is influenced by the fact that electric vehicles (EVs) constitute a significantly larger portion of new car sales in China, accounting for 30% compared to just 7% in the US.
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This creates a substantial market opportunity for Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk. Production will take place at Tesla’s Shanghai facility, with plans to export the model to Europe, followed by expansion into various markets in Asia and the Middle East. Although Tesla’s official US website still showcases the previous Model 3 version, American drivers are eagerly anticipating the refreshed model.
This updated version boasts improvements in several critical areas, including increased driving range, a more streamlined exterior design, and enhanced interior technology. It’s important to note that the existing Model 3 has been available for purchase in the US since 2017, a time when Tesla faced fewer competitors. Consequently, there is a growing expectation that the vehicle should undergo a significant update, although the exact features of a potential US version are yet to be confirmed.
Upon initial observation, the new Model 3 exhibits a flatter and more aerodynamic hood, achieving Tesla’s most impressive drag coefficient to date, as reported by Electrek. This coefficient has been reduced to .219, down from .225 on the existing Model 3. This modification plays a significant role in enhancing the vehicle’s overall range, although there are variations in the reported range figures for the Chinese and European versions.
The new Model 3 in its Chinese iteration boasts an improved range, with an increase of 11-12%, providing a maximum of 344 miles for the Standard Range version. Conversely, the European variant offers a slightly lower range, delivering 319 miles for the Standard Range model.
It’s worth noting that China and Europe employ their own range testing procedures, which generally yield higher estimates compared to the US EPA tests. China’s CLTC tests tend to show approximately a 35% increase over the EPA estimates, while Europe’s WLTP tests typically indicate a 22% increase, as reported by InsideEVs.
In the United States, the current base Model 3 is estimated to have a range of 272 miles according to the EPA. Applying the same 11% range increase to a potential updated US Model 3 would result in a range of approximately 300 miles on a single charge for the base model.
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All these enhancements come at a cost. The updated base Model 3, featuring rear-wheel drive, now begins at $35,800 (259,900 yuan) in China, an increase from its predecessor’s starting price of $32,000 (231,900 yuan). Meanwhile, in the United States, the Model 3 currently starts at just above $40,000.
It remains uncertain whether Tesla will introduce the refreshed Model 3 in the United States and whether it will also come with added features and a higher price tag compared to the previous version. Additionally, Tesla has been regularly adjusting its prices throughout 2023, so we cannot anticipate any fixed pricing at this point.