New battery in the smallest Tesla Model 3? Range indication for Europe now 448 km

Without much ado, Tesla has again upgraded its Model 3 Standard Range plus (SR +), the smallest electric car in its range. As attentive Twitter users noticed over the weekend, a range of 448 kilometers is now specified for the Model 3 SR + in the Tesla configurator, without the price changing. Particularly interesting about it: Behind the new information according to WLTP there is the note “estimated”, which could mean that Tesla is installing a different battery in this variant of the Model 3 that has not yet passed the official tests.

10% more range for Model 3 SR +

Until recently, the range of the Model 3 SR + for Europe was 409 kilometers, around ten percent less than now. In mid-October 2020, the basic Tesla, along with the other variants, received a refresh, which initially increased the range to 430 kilometers. A little later, Tesla also surprisingly offered a preproduced Model 3 SR + from its gigafactory in China in Europe. This contains a battery made of LFP cells from CATL, which weigh more and cost less than the previously used NCM cells from LG Chem. To compensate, Tesla lowered the price (in Germany first by 2000 euros and then by 3000 euros) and increased the battery capacity slightly, which means a WLTP range of 440 kilometers for the SR + from China.

For a while, European customers had the choice between pre-produced small Model 3s from China at a slightly lower price with a little more range and reconfigured ones from the US factory in Fremont, which, unlike the Chinese, were shown with the refreshment in October. For the time being, nobody has to ponder over such advantages and disadvantages, because Tesla does not currently offer any pre-produced Model 3 SR + on its websites for Europe.

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At the same time, the range for newly configured basic Teslas increased to the now discovered 448 kilometers. How the increase is explained remained open at first. Because it is not very high compared to either the China or the US variant, it could be explained by improved software alone – Tesla has given all of its electric cars several times more range via updates. However, the reference to the new information, which has only been estimated so far, suggests that the hardware has also changed and must first go through the WLTP test cycle.

Little Tesla from China or the USA?

How it really looks will probably only be shown in a few weeks: Tesla is now specifying February as the delivery date for newly configured Model 3 in every variant in Europe. Until then, it is also unclear whether these electric cars will come from China or from the USA. The second possibility is more likely, because in front of the Chinese Gigafactory this week, a row of Model 3s with a steering wheel on the right-hand side were spotted. And the new Gigafactory should not yet have so much capacity that in addition to the local market, both right-hand drive and other export markets can be served from China.


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