The increase in range and efficiency of the 2021 version of the Tesla Model 3 is now official.
Tesla does not release vehicle “refreshes” in the same way as legacy car makers do, because many updates from over the internet, but it does distinguish between model years to reflect upgraded features, which in this case include increased range and efficiency.
In addition to giving it a range of cool upgrades including black trim and handles where there used to be chrome, Tesla also confirmed it is now fitting the upgraded 2021 Tesla Model 3 with the highly efficient heat pump used in the Model Y.
The heat pump with octovalve developed for the Model Y replaces the standard resistive heating system, significantly improving energy use in the vehicle.
New ratings published by the US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its fueleconomy.gov website show that the Long Range Model 3’s driving range has increased by 9.6%.
This is thanks to an 11% increase in efficiency, which now sits at 15.6kWh per 100 kilometres on a combined city and highway cycle, bringing the driving range up to 353 miles (568km).
Driving only on city roads where the stop and go of traffic allows for more regenerative braking, the new Model 3 Long Range is even more efficient, using 14.9kWh per 100 kilometres.
Out on the highway, where energy requirements are more demanding, the Long Range model will get 16.5kWh per kilometres.
The new Performance Model 3 benefits from a 5.4% increase in driving range up to 315 miles (507km) on a single charge.
However, the new 2021 EPA ratings show only one wheel size for the Performance, which is now only available with 20 inch Überturbine wheels.
While the 2020 model was rated by the EPA for 18 inch, 19 inch and 20 inch option, the 2021 Performance Model 3 has the same efficiency (18.4kWh/100km) as the 2020 model fitted with 20 inch wheels.
The EPA has not yet released figures for the 2021 Standard Range Plus Model 3, but it is expected that its official 2020 efficiency rating of 15kWh/100km will also be replaced with a more efficient figure for 2021.
On Tesla’s website, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 is now listed with an estimated driving range of 263 miles (423km), where it was previously listed with 249 miles (402km) driving range.
If Tesla’s estimate proves to be correct when the 2021 EPA rating is issued, it will equate to a 5.6% increase in driving range.
As for energy consumption, you can draw your own conclusions until official figures are released.
It is worth noting that a recent test by Motor1 showed that even the 2020 Model 3 can achieve energy usage figures as low as 11.9kWh/100km if you drive it carefully enough.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.