Subtle Changes to Tesla Model 3 And Model Y, Slightly Affecting Range
The frequency with which Tesla updates its models is one of the key reasons why the brand's electric cars are always up to date; but given the pace of those updates and how Tesla communicates the changes it is really difficult to see which ones have actually happened and the reasons behind them. The latest updates have led to Tesla Model 3 having a slightly less range (in two of its three models), while the Tesla Model Y has also benefited with a small range increase.
This is already being specified on Tesla website, and the only model that has not been affected at the moment is the cheapest and most accessible version of the Model 3, which continues to announce the same 317 miles (510 km) of autonomy in case of choosing the 18-inch Aero wheels, while with the optional 19-inch Sport the figure drops to 305 miles (491 km).
These changes affecting the official range are presumably due to the replacement of the processor in charge of internally coordinating all Model 3 systems, which has been introduced, according to Tesla, in order to improve the operation of the central screen of both the Model 3 and Model Y. Up until now the processor that Tesla featured was an Intel Atom, which has been now replaced with an AMD Ryzen (according to multiple sources); both performance and consumption in AMD Ryzen are higher than the same indicators in Intel Atom processors, apparently.
Tesla has alerted those who have a reservation with the following message (in this case for a Model 3 reservation holder): "We have updated Tesla Model 3s to optimize the touchscreen experience with our new on-board computer. This hardware change requires more power, resulting in a small drop in range. Your Model 3's range is now 374 miles (602 km) WLTP, 14 miles (22 km) less than originally reported."
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Thus, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range now announces a maximum range of 389 miles (626 km) instead of the 396 miles (637 km) previously promised, while in the case of the Model 3 Performance the total figure drops to 340 miles from the previous 352. Let us keep in mind that these are figures based on the WLTP methodology.
Regarding the Tesla Model Y, it does not suffer a drop in its approved official range despite featuring the same AMD Ryzen processor as the Model 3. The Long-range version of the Model Y now offers 351 miles (565 km) - in case of choosing the 19-inch wheels - instead of the previous 334 miles. The Model Y Performance now has 320 miles (514 km) instead of the previous 300 miles (480 km).
This is mainly because the electric SUV - Model Y - has a higher battery capacity. Based on what many different sources have pointed out, the Model Y will feature an 82 kWh battery instead of the 77 kWh pack with which it was being delivered up until now; in addition to the aforementioned AMD Ryzen processor. It is not yet known what kind of changes have led the Model Y to improve the capacity of its battery, although it is apparently ruled out that it would be due to utilizing a structural battery.
It is interesting to note that in the short term the Model Y produced in Giga Berlin - Tesla's new European plant - will begin to be sold in Europe. Its specifications and features should vary significantly as it will have a new, lighter front frame and, as we said above, newly designed structural batteries.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.