Tesla’s massive update to the Model 3, chrome delete, new wheels, and more range

    It might be late on a Friday afternoon, but that didn’t stop Tesla releasing a massive refresh to the Model 3.

    New to Model 3 is a whole new set of wheels. We had seen some leaks online of the new 19″ wheels, but changes to the Aero wheels and moving to Uberturbines for the Performance model was unexpected. Personally, I think the new wheels look great, and when we get to the updated performance numbers, it’s clear they’re also playing a part in increased efficiency.

    • Standard Range Plus – Updated 18″ Aero Wheels
    • Long Range – Updated 19″ Sport Wheels
    • Performance – 20″ Uberturbine Wheels

    Along with the wheel refresh, the Model 3 now comes with a chrome delete now standard, matching what was introduced with the Model Y. Another way to explain this is the external trim around the windows and door handles are now black from the factory.

    When we compare the 3 variants of the Model 3, the performance and range numbers have also been updated.

    • The Standard Range Plus features a 5.6 second, 0-100km/h time, with a top speed of 255km/h and a range of 490km (est), up from 460km.
    • The Long Range AWD model offers 4.4s 0-100km/h, with a top speed of 233 km/h and an improved range of 657km (est).
    • The Performance AWD model buys you a 0-100km/h time of just 3.3s and a top speed of 261km, while achieving a range of 628km (est).

    It is clear the range available in the updated Long Range and Performance editions have been helped with the switch to new wheels. There’s also strong indications that the Model 3 will use the new Octovalve and heat pump to save power and increase range.

    Tesla has also taken the opportunity to update the FSD options page of the configurator. The Traffic Light and Stop sign recognition is now listed under current abilities, with Automatically navigate city streets, remaining on the to-do list.

    The updated Tesla Model 3 is available to order right now and has an estimated delivery time of between 4 and 6 weeks. When it comes to price, the Model 3 costs:

    • Standard Range Plus – A$66,900 or A$72,262 drive away (VIC).
    • Long Range AWD – A$81,900 or A$89,717 drive away (VIC).
    • Performance AWD – A$90,900 or A$101,912 drive away (VIC).

    If money is no object, then select the Performance model, with multi-coat red paint, white interior and the full self-driving package and you’ll pay A$121,552 to drive away (VIC).

    In terms of options, it looks like the cost of the paint upgrades, white interior and FSD options all remain the same. It is important to remember that one of the best inclusions, a high powered wall charger, is no longer included. This is valued at $700 and can be purchased as an accessory. The car will still come with a regular 240V connector.

    The interior refresh also arrives, with the much-discussed, highly controversial new center console update. This moves to a new setup where Tesla adds wireless charging to the phone space under the screen but removes the cover that could hide the phone(s) to avoid temptations.

    The new console also continues the stitching the whole length of the center console and removes the glossy piano black finish that many complained was a fingerprint and dust magnet. The console now features a single opening that slides, rather than rotates open.

    To complete the refresh, Tesla is now shifting the Model 3 to USB-C ports, a great decision in 2020, with most of our accessories now supporting the updated format (looking at you iPhone 12).

    Also borrowing from the changes made to the Model Y, Tesla has added a powered tailgate / trunk. This addresses one of the biggest criticisms from the community, an example that Tesla is really listening to feedback. There were certainly 3rd party solutions for this, but it’s great to see it resolved at the factory.

    While many other automakers update their cars, often they’ll change things to achieve a boost in sales and often take the opportunity to increase the price. The objective there feels driven solely by profit, refreshing a front bar or lights, the smallest amount possible, to differentiate to the year before.

    What Tesla has done with this refresh of the Model 3 is to make the car better, which ultimately will have the same overall outcome of driving new sales, but these significant changes are made to produce a better product.

    Overall this is a really nice update to what was an already a brilliant car. If you didn’t catch my in-depth 1-year review, please consider reading that if you’re on the fence about buying.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


    1. The steering wheel has changed too. Check out the images on the website now and you will notice that there are no seams at the 10 & 2 o’clock positions.

    2. This is interesting news, but please, can you just re-read your article before pushing “publish”. This is just so riddled with spelling and grammar issues it really distracts from the content.

    3. I’m wondering if Australian orders for the updated `Model 3 will receive MIC versions. This is what they are saying for future deliveries to Europe, at leat until the German factory is up and running.

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