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Teslaverse #4: Deep Dive of Model 3 Refresh — Cybertrucks everywhere — Tesla dominates NEVI

⚡ Caution! High Voltage

Hey, Jaan here.

Do you ever get the feeling that this is all just a Tesla’s Universe and we’re living in it?

Welcome back to the monthly special edition of the EV Universe — the Teslaverse. This edition is born out of a collaboration between EV Universe and the fully contactless Tesla rental startup Beast Rent.

The team has now added unlimited mileage for every rental. Couple that with:

  • charging & insurance being included in the rental price,

  • 24/7 rental, minute-based, accessible via just an app,

  • no fees when crossing an EU border,

  • no fees when returning to another country (they are in 6 countries already, just added Slovakia),

I think they are building the best premium EV rental service out there. (link)

Our regular newsletters return early next week, but here’s what I’ve got for you today:

Words: 2,717 | Time to read: 13 minutes | Best read as: the online version with all the videos playable (click read online on top right).

And, in case you missed last month’s Teslaverse where I took a closer look at the Q2 earnings call, here it is.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

So… where do we start?

We’ve been talking about the revamp project for the Model 3, previously codenamed Highland, for a while now. The first major refresh for the vehicle since 2017 is now here.

That said, there have been tweaks to M3 before, of course. Not to mention what Tesla does with OTA software updates.

Important: so far the refresh hasn’t launched in North America, but in Asia, the Middle East & Europe instead. That’s because the Model 3s in these markets are supplied by the one factory where these changes have been made so far: the Giga Shanghai.

I’ve gathered a lot of the info from all around myself, and I also cross-checked with a good outline by Sawyer here. A lot of our previously reported rumors have been confirmed. Keep in mind some of the real info and specs can prove different once we have more details surfacing.

Just in: Tesla also just uploaded the new owner’s manual for the M3 (online / 284-page pdf), which might answer some of our questions. I’ll work through it and report back later. Meanwhile, here’s some Tesla sense of humor from the manual (video).


old vs new, GIF by yours truly

The new Model 3 is now the most aerodynamic Tesla ever, with a 0.219 Cd drag coefficient. Some exterior changes:

  • The headlight design change is the most obvious one. Taillight has been changed too.

  • Two new colors added, Ultra Red & Stealth Grey. Designed to change with viewing angle & lighting. Costs €2k extra:

  • Tesla logo in the back has been replaced with the T E S L A badge.

  • Redesigned lower rear bumper.

  • No fog lights, but there has some talk been about a front bumper camera. Not much other than a few pictures confirm it so far.

  • New styling of the wheels and new tires (tires from Hankook), for increased range and less noise.


Tesla says the interior has a “wraparound styling that cocoons you inside.”

  • More sophisticated materials, the fabric is softer to the touch and sewn with “a more refined process to present a better overall texture”.

  • Rear 8’’ touchscreen for passengers in the back to control climate & enjoy YouTube, Netflix, etc, similarly to Model S/X. Can connect two headsets.

Oh, and thanks to a video sent from our friend Nick from the IAA, we saw you can also adjust the passenger seat position from the rear screen (video). Usually, this is done by buttons on the side of the seat.

This will probably be fixed via an OTA update, but currently, Nick reports that yes, he was able to move a fellow visitor all the way back. My kids would love to mess around with this one.

New Steering wheel:

Image from the IAA by Nick

  • No stalks (like in the Model S and X), the buttons left/right on the left side of the steering wheel are for turning indicators. These have a haptic feedback.

  • Same with the gear selector stalks, now the selector is located on the touchscreen instead. Also, if your infotainment screen doesn’t work for some reason… the backup manual selector is in the ceiling, next to the rearview mirror. (link)

  • The new steering wheel also contains light controls, horn, new camera button, wiper controls and mic control.

  • Center touchscreen now has smaller bezels, giving you more useable screen space. Screen is brighter, higher contrast & more responsive.

  • Multicolor ambient LED interior lighting extending from dash to rear doors and is customizable. Here’s the lighting and customization seen well in a video of a drive.

  • All seats are now perforated, and front seats now also ventilated. This can also be controlled through the Tesla app. Autogefühl also says seats are wider and the support feels better.

  • The rear seats are also reportedly more comfortable. The rear armrest is ‘much larger’ and easier to access.

  • New ventilation system, you can now separately turn off the passenger side air.

  • 360º acoustic glass (it was only on front windows before, now also on rear). It’s visible the windows are dual-insulated when looking from above.

  • Also, significantly less road & wind noise (up to 30% less in some measurements), more sound insulation.

  • Better sound system: Up to 17 speakers (14 before), dual subwoofers & dual amplifiers. I’m not sure, but seems the RWD version will have 9 speakers?

  • 65W USB-C charger in the center console.

  • Upgraded microphones. Now one on each passenger side. New mics make phone calls clearer and "smooth".

  • Improved connectivity to phone and WiFi.

  • Larger rear trunk with up to 594 liters (from 561 liters) and the trunk opening also seems larger.

  • Smaller glovebox (= more passenger space).


  • 50% of the parts in the car are new, according to Tesla.

  • Fully Charged says that Tesla has strengthened the doors, which in turn should help the M3 tackle the side-impact accidents even better.

  • Upgraded suspension for a more premium ride. New springs & dampers. New geometry on front suspension. New bushings. New way they mount the subframe to the chassis. Stiffer body.

  • Softer automatic close for the trunk (two motors used instead of one).

  • Battery sizes remain unchanged (reportedly).

  • Washer fluid reservoir has been located to the very front of the hood.


At least for now, the Tesla Model 3 is slightly more expensive than the older versions in most markets: 12% in China, 7.8% in Australia, 2.4% in most of Europe (~2.250€+VAT in Germany). Note, that it’s common to have an increased pre-sale price for EVs in China, usually after which the price drops to ‘normal’. (link)

Deliveries begin in October. Per some sources in China, the new M3 will be ramped to 1,200 units/day capacity in Giga Shanghai by September 11th (link).


The official new specs for RWD and LR AWD Model 3 can be found here (link).

The range has increased ~12%, now reaching up to 629 km (391 mi) WLTP for the LR AWD version, which also goes 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in 4.4s. The RWD version does 513 km (319 mi) and 6.1s respectively.

However, configuring the car I noticed that using the 18’’ Photon wheels instead of the €1,400 19’’ Nova wheels, the estimated range increases to 678 km (421 mi).

From the fact that my tweet about this reached 125k+ people already, it seems that most people haven’t realized that the range with 18’’s is there, higher than the headlines state.

  • Max Supercharging power at 170kW for RWD and 250kW for Long Range AWD versions.

  • Top speed lowered to 201 km/h (120mph), previously up to 233 km/h. Reportedly, it’s because of the greater-efficiency tires.

  • Tesla says it has improved the ride comfort: “More refined & relaxed ride quality, thanks to a combination of stiffer body & updated suspension tuning.”

  • This is confirmed by the ~20% less vibration shown on carwow’s test.

“Handling and ride comfort is super super smooth. it’s like you’re in a cotton ball.” — employee Viv (link)


"They've improved the build quality and addressed almost everything I've criticized in the past."

Carwow walkaround (PS, Mat Watson is one of my favorite presenters, 8min):

And Mat’s driving test (23min).

Kyle from Out of Spec walkaround (35min):


Looks like the official page of Tesla in China didn’t handle the incoming volume the day it started pre-sales. (link) A sales lady for Tesla also confirmed on video that the recent daily order volume is ~10x the normal volume. (video)

Per the Google Search data, the Model 3 search interest is clearly at its highest point in the last 5 years (link).

In Norway, the earlier estimate of October-November has now moved to November 22th — February 5th. (link)

"I will be turning in my merc after my kid is born and hopefully getting this beauty" — a friend of mine after seeing the refreshed Tesla M3.

🕵️‍♂️ Looks like even the CEO of NIO, William Li, was pictured inspecting the refreshed Model 3 at the IAA event (photos).

Zachary Kirkhorn, aka the Master of Coin, stepped down as the CFO of Tesla on August 4th, after 13 years with the company (last 4 years as CFO). (link) He is replaced by the Chief Accounting Officer, Vaibhav Taneja. Taneja came to Tesla through the SolarCity acquisition and has been the CAO since March 2019. Doesn’t look like Kirkhorn is leaving in a hurry, as he will continue to serve Tesla through the end of the year to “support a seamless transition”.

Here’s Zach’s short LinkedIn post on the matter (link).

Tesla will be attending the Detroit Auto Show for the first time in 8 years next week (link). I wonder if it’s for the Cybertruck. And if they tease (or even launch) the new M3 there?

Tesla owners can now get referral points when they refer people to test drive the Teslas. (link)


Musk shared this production candidate Musk on Aug 24th saying he drove it himself (here)

A lot of images from the Cybertruck have surfaced as the cars are moved to and from Giga Texas. Here’s one with the suspension raised before loading (photos by Adan Guajardo 1, 2, video of a trailer with 5 CTs, video with three driving).

There are no production numbers anywhere yet, but I guess we could say “tens of Cybertrucks” have been produced so far. Here are some more pictures if you’re still hungry: (photos). And one to compare size with Model Y: (photo). And one to see the bench-like frunk: (photo)

We still don’t have the pricing for the Cybertruck.

There’s also this video from yesterday that shows a Cybertruck prototype in a Supercharger in Las Vegas. It has a tow hitch and some wiring around it, and can barely reach the charger.


Tesla now only sells Long Range and Plaid versions of the Model S & X in the US, and reduced the prices significantly (link):

  • Model S LR: $74,990 (from $88,490)

  • Model S Plaid: $89,990 (from $108,490)

  • Model X LR: $79,990 (from $98,490)

  • Model X Plaid: $89,990 (from $108,490)

Since the electric SUVs have a $80k price cap in the US, this also makes the Model X Long Range eligible for the $7,500 EV tax credit. (link

Here’s a chart on how Tesla has reduced the MS and MX prices in the US since the start of the year — from $104,990 to $74,990 and from $120,990 to $79,990, respectively. (link)

Tesla also dropped the FSD price from $15k to $12k and has now raised the yoke steering wheel option from $250 to $1,000.


Giga Train: Tesla has now finished its depot we’ve written about earlier and launched its own train shuttle at Giga Berlin, meant to transport 400 employees per ride at no cost to them. They held a party (26s video) and there’s also some employees that hosted a DJ session inside the train (15s video)


Giga Shanghai reaches 2 million Teslas built: 1st million in 33 months, second in just 13 months. (link)

Tesla's localization rate of car components used in the Shanghai factory has exceeded 95%.

Recently, the Tesla Giga Shanghai also began exporting its Model Y (RWD) vehicle to the Republic of Korea.


Tesla is, reportedly, still waiting for a change-of-land-use permit approval before it can start construction of Giga Mexico, according to an official document cited by Forbes México. (link in 🇲🇽 ) Local media says Tesla will likely not start production there before 2026/2027, as also suppliers are told to “wait”.


As of end August 2023, Tesla’s registrations in Europe (237,556) have exceeded the total for 2022 (233,800), per the data gathered in the Tesla Motors Club project (link). Here’s a good chart of theirs showing the growth (top line is 2023):

US CHARGING: I stumbled upon some great data on the DC charging scene in the US. Tesla’s dominance is quite clear here. (tweet here) Some takeaways:

  • Tesla opened 557 ports in August and 3,522 so far in 2023 in the US.

  • Tesla installed roughly as many chargers this year as the #2, Electrify America, has in total (3,582).

  • Tesla has installed 72% of all DC fast chargers deployed in August and 58% of all DC fast chargers installed this year so far.

From Tesla’s Q2 report that we went over in the previous Teslaverse newsletter, we saw that Tesla has globally 5,265 Supercharger locations (+33% YoY) and 48,082 connectors (+33% YoY). Just today, Tesla posted that it has reached 50,000 Superchargers.

Also, I found a comment a lot of EV owners in the US could relate to, which talks more about the charging experience itself: (tweet).

NEVI GRANTS: Tesla has the most winning bids in NEVI funding for the first 5 states. They won 22 out of 120 locations in Hawaii, Ohio, Maine, CO, and PA. And while others stick with NEVI minimum of 4 ports per site, Tesla does 8 to 12. (link)

Tesla is also building charging stations cheaper and faster than competitors, quoting about $392k per site compared to an average $795k bid by other CPOs. In Maine, Tesla incurred hardware costs of $17k per fast charger, compared to $130k for another (unnamed) company.

CELEBRATING: The first 6 European Supercharger stations opened in Norway in August 29th, 2013. Tesla celebrated the day with free Supercharging for the whole day in its European Superchargers, also making it available to non-Tesla drivers. (video)

V4 SUPERCHARGING: EVA England testing out the first V4 Supercharger in the UK, which also had the new card payment system installed (2min video). By the end of August, Tesla was building its 9th V4 location in the world (link).

SEMI CHARGING ROUTE: Tesla has submitted a plan to build nine electric truck charging stations between California and Texas in a 1,800-mile route. (link) Note, that this seems to nicely connect Tesla’s Austin HQ and its upcoming Nuevo Leon, Mexico factory.

The report comes through a request for $97M in federal funding, with Tesla itself contributing another $24M to the project. Each charging station would be equipped with 8×750 kW Megachargers, and four chargers designed for other electric trucks, (likely the Megawatt Charging standard).

  • Tesla x McDonalds: Tesla launched a partnership in China to launch “Cyberspoons” for $4 with the McFlurry’s. (link) Musk himself thought it was fake news (link), but official Tesla channels in China seem to be the ones showcasing the partnership. (link)

  • Musk livestreamed his drive around Palo Alto using FSD v12 (45min video).

  • Honda adopts NACS in its new EVs from 2025. (link)

  • List of 25 countries where Tesla has surpassed last year’s sales by the end of July, and by how much (link).

  • Remember the Cybertruck wrapped like the F-150? Here’s one made to look like Toyota Tundra. (video) Somebody from Tesla is having fun out there…

  • The best deep dive I’ve seen about the Tesla-funded Jeff Dahn Research Group so far, in this Behind the Battery series by Electric Autonomy (link).

✔️ We’re done for the Teslaverse #4. This newsletter went out to 3,901 EV Universe readers, in collaboration with Beast Rent. Do share this wherever you can — it helps us grow.

— Jaan

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