The Tesla Model 3, renowned as the world’s leading electric sedan, has undergone a significant update in China, marking the first modification to the mass-market car series since the global launch of the Model Y in 2020, under the ownership of Elon Musk.
Interestingly, the initial unveiling of the Model 3 in 2016 had sparked anticipation for its introduction in South Africa. However, Elon Musk abandoned those plans due to perceived high import duties for electric vehicles in the region. Consequently, the Tesla Model 3 remains an elusive choice for local EV enthusiasts.
Tesla introduced the revised Model 3 at a trade fair in Beijing, showcasing features tailored for the Chinese market. Notable enhancements include a rear display for back-seat passengers, an upgraded acoustic system, a more comfortable interior, additional airbags, and subtle exterior changes, such as sleeker headlights and fresh C-shaped tail lamps.
The new Model 3 boasts an extended driving range, with the standard version achieving a rated range of 606km according to China’s testing standards – a 9% improvement over its predecessor.
While specific details about the motor output remain undisclosed, Tesla did share acceleration figures. The rear-drive base model reportedly achieves 0 to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, while the dual-motor version accomplishes the same in 4.4 seconds.
Tesla plans to showcase the updated Model 3 at the Munich auto show, a platform where German automakers are expected to announce new electric vehicles in response to China’s dynamic EV market. Notably, Reuters had previously reported that Tesla’s revamp of the Model 3, codenamed “Highland,” aimed at reducing production costs and enhancing the model’s appeal.
Although Tesla did not provide detailed information about the new Model 3’s battery, sources suggest it utilizes the same lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery from CATL for the base model. The increased driving range is attributed to weight reduction and improved aerodynamics, though no official statement from Tesla regarding the battery has been issued.
In terms of sales, Tesla experienced a nearly 49% surge in China during the first half of the year, with Model Y outselling the Model 3 by more than double. Tesla has initiated orders for the updated Model 3, with deliveries in China scheduled for the fourth quarter. Reservations are also being accepted in other export markets, including the Middle East, Japan, and Australia.
Interestingly, the new Model 3 in China starts at 259,900 yuan, approximately 12% higher than the previous base rear-wheel-drive model. This pricing adjustment follows Tesla’s recent reduction in prices for its larger Model S and Model X premium models in the US and China, reflecting the competitive challenges faced by EV manufacturers, particularly in China, where Tesla initiated a price war with local rivals earlier in the year.