Skip to main content

As it keeps barrelling along, Tesla has just made some running changes to both the Model 3 and Model Y. Some of these upgrades and changes were announced in October while others are brand-new. Let’s drill down to see what these bunch of upgrades are.

First off, we like the new wheels. We also like that there is now a power trunk release. Tesla has always been seen as a higher-end car so the power trunk lid helps with the luxury appeal. 

Tesla’s Model 3 has increased ranges and gotten quicker

Employees work at the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 20, 2020. U.S. electric car company Tesla in 2019
The Tesla Model 3 | Getty

Across the board, the Model 3 has range increases for every trim level from a single charge. Times have decreased for the dual-motor AWD Long Range version. Its 0-60 time has gone from 2.2-seconds to 4.2-seconds. So both range and torque have been improved according to electrek.

There have been some minor styling upgrades. The “chrome delete” option sees a black wrap over the door handles and window trim strips. Most visible are the new headlights. Soon to debut on the Model Y, the new headlights will soon travel across all models in the next few months. They’re more powerful than the previous headlights. They also project a more defined square beam of light. 

New headlights and a third row are apparent on the Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y is the brand's first small electric crossover.
Tesla Model Y | Getty

Model Y has gotten its fair share of changes and upgrades. Auto-dim mirrors, laminated window glass, and steering wheel metal scrolls. A third-row seat to hold seven passengers has also been in the works and should be out any time.  

“We are transitioning Model 3 and Model Y to a new headlight design, which is eventually going to be consistent across all variants, globally,” a Tesla sales staff memo says. “By Q1 2021, we expect all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles to feature this new unit.” The word is that the technology behind these new lights will allow over-the-air upgrades down the road. 

Tesla’s headlights have been upgraded in part to satisfy the Insurance Institute’s low rating

The Tesla Model 3 is the fastest-selling car in the U.S.
Tesla Model 3 | Getty

This is all in response to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s overall safety ratings for new cars. There are a number of models beyond what Tesla makes that would score the highest safety rankings were it not for underperforming headlights. Tesla was caught in this net too. 

Right now, US headlight regulations are in a state of flux. In Europe, the Matrix LED headlights perform better than anything made in the US. But federal regulations dictate what is allowed on US highways and so far these more advanced headlights are not. Headlight laws may soon get reviewed under the Biden administration. After that, we would expect changes to occur. 

Porsche, Audi, and Toyota have all petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow better headlight standards. From what we can tell, Tesla has not received any pushback from the feds over its new headlights. We do expect the headlight rules to follow Europe’s lead sometime soon.  And we also would expect Tesla to score better in safety features.


The 2021 Tesla Model 3 Refresh Is the Most Cost-Effective Tesla