Tesla Finally Refreshed the Model 3 and Went With China First

updated tesla model 3 launch photos sept 2023
Tesla Finally Refreshed the Model 3Tesla

For the first time since the nameplate arrived in 2016, an updated Tesla Model 3 made its official debut on September 1. The event didn’t take place in Fremont or Austin, however, as this reworked Model 3 marks the first time that Tesla unveiled an all-new car in China.

According to a report from Reuters, this updated Tesla Model 3 is slated to enter production at Tesla’s Shanghai plant, which will supply vehicles to the rest of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East markets. Not only is this the first Tesla to make its debut in China, but it is also the brand’s first major product change since the Model Y made its arrival back in 2020. Reuters was also the first publication to report on the revised Model 3 project last year, which was given the codename Highland.

The update starts in the styling department, as the Model 3 finally gets a new face. The lighting elements are now thinner and more reminiscent of the larger cars, while the fog lights have been ditched from the lower valence. The rear lightning also receives some tweaks, but the profile is unmistakably unchanged. That’s not too much of a surprise considering the Model S has remained relatively unchanged for over a decade. Other exterior tweaks include a new set of wheels.

updated tesla model 3 launch photos sept 2023

Model 3 customers will still have the choice between a single motor and a dual-motor powertrain, though Reuters reports that range figures will be up slightly. Based on the Chinese testing standards, the new Model 3 should provide 377 miles of range per charge in standard trim. That's an increase of about nine percent over the model it is replacing in China. An unnamed source told the publication that this range increase is not due to a change with the battery itself, but rather due to improved aerodynamics and a focus on pulling weight out of the car. If you check Tesla's own writing about the car, it makes mention of increased range but specifically cites aero, not battery changes, reading, "Dynamic styling meets efficiency, optimizing aerodynamics for a longer range of up to 713 km* on a single charge."


That doesn't mean Tesla has forgotten about adding new features, however. The interior remains a sparse and future-looking affair, though a new 8-inch screen now sits in place for rear passengers. There’s also acoustic glass and more sound deadening in place, which should make the Model 3 a more comfortable and quiet place to spend time.

tesla model 3 updated interior shots chinese debut event

Deliveries for the updated Tesla Model 3 are slate to begin in China and European markets during the fourth quarter of this year. That said, we still haven’t heard anything from Tesla as it relates to the U.S. market. We shouldn’t have to wait too much longer for that information, as Tesla plans to show off the car at the upcoming Munich Auto Show. Hopefully that will bring more specifics related to the car’s electric powertrain and pricing models.

updated tesla model 3 front fascia close up

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