2021 Tesla Model 3 updates officially revealed

Tesla has given its smallest car a mild nip-and-tuck for 2021, with new wheels, new exterior trim, and a reworked interior.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Deputy Editor

Tesla has given its strong-selling Model 3 electric sedan a nip-and-tuck for 2021.

The 2021 Tesla Model 3 gets a revised interior design and new wheel designs, in keeping with reports from the USA last week.

The updates are live on the Tesla Australia configurator, with orders currently scheduled to arrive in the next four to eight weeks.

Outside, there’s a new alloy wheel design for the base Model 3 Standard Range Plus, with a more stylish take on the aerodynamic covers previously applied to the base wheels.

The top-end Model 3 Performance also gets new turbine-style wheels. Gone is the chrome trim around the windows across the range, replaced by a new blacked-out finish.

Inside, there’s a new design for the transmission tunnel – or what would be in an internal-combustion car.

Gone is the gloss black finish of the existing Model 3, replaced with a matte black finish. There’s also a new storage space under the infotainment screen and a smaller covered storage space ahead of the cupholders.

MORE: Tesla Model 3 pricing and specs

Although Tesla doesn’t follow model years like conventional carmakers, instead gradually rolling out changes to its cars, the Model 3 updates would usually be included in a model year refresh.

It’s not yet clear whether the latest Model 3 update will be produced at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, or at the company’s factory in Shanghai, China.

A report from Bloomberg earlier this year said Tesla is planning to ship the Model 3 and Model Y from its Chinese factory to Europe and Asia – including Australia and New Zealand – by the end of 2020.

According to a Bloomberg source close to the Chinese manufacturing operation, Tesla’s plan to supply the European and Asian markets from its Shanghai factory is part of a strategy to cut the wait for customers ordering cars from its plant in Fremont, California.

Tesla’s plant in Shanghai has a current production capacity of 250,000 cars annually, and only produces the Model 3 sedan. Production capacity is expected to expand to 500,000 units per annum by the end of 2020, when phase two of the plant’s construction is complete.

The company currently delivers around 11,000 Model 3s every month in China, leaving more than enough capacity to service Europe, which accounts for around 40,000 deliveries per quarter, along with other Asian markets.

Tesla is yet to commence production of its Model Y SUV at the Shanghai plant, which is expected to increase production output even further.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Scott Collie is the Deputy Editor at CarExpert.
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