Even though the Tesla Model 3 has only been with us for a few model years, it is still a work in progress on the quality control front. But for 2021, the smallest and least expensive Tesla you can buy is getting a host of updates. Tesla quietly updated their consumer site with some of the improvements listed here, but the interior changes were sent to us by someone who works at a Tesla store.
The most notable changes are to the car’s range, and these were in the updates to Tesla’s website. In 2020, the base Model 3 had 250 miles of range and it topped out at 322 miles, while the Performance-trimmed cars were able to go 299 miles on a single charge. For 2021, the base Model 3 now has 263 miles of range, the Performance models can go 315 miles, and the long-range cars see a major bump to 353 miles.
According to Tesla, 0-60 mph times have been sliced, too. Long-range cars will now cover the 0-60 mph run in 4.2 seconds, or 3.7 seconds with the optional boost, down from 4.4 and 3.9 seconds, respectively. Performance models take a tenth off their 0-60 time, covering the distance in 3.1 seconds as opposed to 3.2. There’s no word on if these improvements will be made available to 2020 Model 3 owners via software updates.
Other changes include a powered trunk, a new set of optional 19-inch wheels, and new black exterior trim replacing the previous chrome brightwork (mimicking the move Tesla made with the Model Y). There’s also a new center console design that features fixed charging mats for smartphones that support wireless charging, blacked-out door sills to match the new black exterior accents, and, significantly, the heat pump HVAC system introduced on the Model Y. There are also five USB ports, after Tesla added one to the glove box.
There are range improvements for other members of the Tesla lineup, too. For 2021, the Model S Performance gets extra range, jumping from 348 miles to 387. The Model X Long Range Plus goes from 351 miles of total range to 371 miles, and its smaller sibling, the Model Y Long Range gets bumped from 316 miles of range to 326 miles. Model Y Performance models that are equipped with the 21-inch wheels see a range bump from 291 to 303 miles.
All in all, some pretty big improvements to the Tesla lineup for 2021, an attempt to improve their competitiveness as the brand faces ever-stiffer competition from other OEMs that are jumping into the EV game.