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Made in China Model 3: Build Quality / Hardware Differences

Llama.

Member
Jan 25, 2021
118
61
Leeds, UK
I’m due to take delivery of my Model 3 Long Range AWD in early March in the U.K. (Very Excited ).

My order has now been matched to a car with a VIN showing that it is a made in China vehicle with arrival at Southampton port due on 18 February.

There are threads offering ‘a waiting room’ for deliveries and ones about shipping movements and others about 2021 model differences.

But I haven’t seen one that includes a discussion on the Build Quality and Hardware Issues specific to cars built at the Shanghai factory.

The U.K. is just about to take delivery of the first Made in China 2021 M3s

Could any of you with knowledge of the build quality of Made in China 2021 Model 3s please offer comment on what those of us waiting for our deliveries should expect? Also any differences to the build of these cars.
 
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VanillaAir_UK

Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2019
7,408
4,912
Surrey, UK
The U.K. is just about to take delivery of the first Made in China 2021 M3s

Could any of you with knowledge of the build quality of Made in China 2021 Model 3s please offer comment on what those of us waiting for our deliveries should expect?

Best place to look are in the LHD European country forums. They got some MIC last quarter.
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
371
253
Surrey, UK
These will be the first RHD MiC Teslas, so nobody here will have experience with them, unless they’ve seen any of the recent European MiC models.

On the plus side, it does appear we should get all the latest goodies, including all the updates (new lights, heated steering wheel, door trims, etc.). The batteries for the LR will be LiIon, though until someone has a look at one we won’t know whether they’re Panasonic or LG Chem.

It appears the latest models in the US also have the heated steering wheel, so it seems to be pretty much a given.

Only question is build quality, however considering there are some quality vehicles being built in China, these days, I would put money on this being better for MiC than the Fremont models. We’re also not in a push phase, which is when it seems the worst build quality tends to surface.
 
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Llama.

Member
Jan 25, 2021
118
61
Leeds, UK
Thanks, some useful info.

I wasn’t getting my hopes up about a heated steering wheel. And I’m not too sure about the door trim. But I’m pleased to hear that these will have all the new bits.

Interesting about the battery differences. Can you tell from the VIN number what the battery supplier is? If so then some of us now have these with delivery only a few weeks away.
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
371
253
Surrey, UK
Thanks, some useful info.

I wasn’t getting my hopes up about a heated steering wheel. And I’m not too sure about the door trim. But I’m pleased to hear that these will have all the new bits.

Interesting about the battery differences. Can you tell from the VIN number what the battery supplier is? If so then some of us now have these with delivery only a few weeks away.
The VIN tells you whether the batteries are LiIon or LFP, however they don’t differentiate between different LiIon manufacturers. I don’t think there’s much difference in it, though. Certainly not enough to worry about!
 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,039
1,021
Leamington
From various things I've read, it seems that the MIC Model 3s have better build quality than the Fremont cars. However, the SR+ comes with the cheaper (and heavier) LFP battery. There are pros and cons of that, but on the cons it seems that there are big problems with its performance (charge speed, capacity) in cold weather. There are also it seems teething problems with the BMS and its algorithms to calculate SoC:

MIC Tesla Model 3 With LFP Batteries Reveals In Tests What's Happening
 
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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,701
UK
Both LiFePO4 and LiNiMnCoO2 cells are lithium ion cells, in fact pretty much all EV cells used in the past 20 years or so have been lithium ion. The differences are solely the nature of the blend of elements used on the electrodes, not the principle of ion exchange as a means of storing energy.

There are a range of Li Ion cell chemistries, from the early LiCoO2 (LiCo) cells, through LiFePO4 (LFP) cells, to the more recent LiNiMnCoO2 (NMC), together with a handful of other, less common, mixes of electrode materials.
 

Llama.

Member
Jan 25, 2021
118
61
Leeds, UK
The VIN tells you whether the batteries are LiIon or LFP, however they don’t differentiate between different LiIon manufacturers. I don’t think there’s much difference in it, though. Certainly not enough to worry about!

Yeah, the VIN decoder shows my M3 LR AWD will come with a LiIon battery. It would be great if Tesla managed to squeeze another few more miles out of it through a software update one day.

In case anyone is interested, you can decode your VIN number here:
VIN Decoder – TeslaTap
 

md337

Member
Feb 12, 2021
11
6
London
I'm waiting to pick up my M3 L3 AWS beginning of March. VIN says it's Lithium-Ion Battery and it's manufactured in China but a Tesla Rep confirmed it's the LFP battery which "can be always charged to 100%". There are two things I'm worried about
1) This battery is actually designed to be charged at 100% most of the time, otherwise the battery management system can't figure out the actual capacity available. I don't have a driveway, so was not planning to charge to 100% too often

2) Charge rate - this is the big one. Tesla rep insists that all cars have a theoretical maximum charge rate of 250kwh, but that is never achieved in real practice and that's fine. But what they don't say is that LFP batteries have a different thermal model all-together and will likely only charge at 80-90kwh at highest rate, even with preconditioning on. This seems to be reported by many users. What's more interesting is navigating to Tesla Website and looking at the Model 3 advertised specs
- Hong Kong website (which I assume gets LFP by default) advertises "You can charge 270km in 30 minutes at Supercharger locations" (which is 167 miles so you don't bother). That is roughly a sustained 30 minutes charge rate of 80-90kwh given the battery capacity, in line with what everyone is reporting on youtube etc. It's the 2021 model 3 showcased in the image, so it's not old information.
- UK website advertises "You can charge 175miles in 15 minutes at Supercharger locations" which is really in line with a rate of ~ 160-170kwh sustained charging rate for about 15 minutes, again in line with what other users are reporting.

Both UK and HK have 250kwh superchargers (and 150kwh ones) so it's not the chargers, it's the battery type making the difference.

Anyone with a LFP battery willing to test/confirm?
Thank you
HK Site.png
 

Tielle

Member
Feb 5, 2021
60
17
Stockport, UK
Thanks. This is a really helpful response. I’d be disappointed if my new LR AWD M3 only charges at 80kw when delivered in March.
Could the Tesla rep be wrong? It would seem odd to me that the VIN incorrectly refers to LiIon when it’s actually LFP. I thought I read elsewhere that only the SR+ has the LFP.
 
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Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,390
2,568
Scotland
Anyone with a LFP battery willing to test/confirm?

Nobody in uk/Ireland has an LFP battery... yet. It would appear from all reports that the additional size vs capacity of LFP means that it's only the Chinese Model 3 SR+ that has the space. No other models have been reported as having this battery chemistry.
 
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Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
371
253
Surrey, UK
I'm waiting to pick up my M3 L3 AWS beginning of March. VIN says it's Lithium-Ion Battery and it's manufactured in China but a Tesla Rep confirmed it's the LFP battery which "can be always charged to 100%". There are two things I'm worried about
1) This battery is actually designed to be charged at 100% most of the time, otherwise the battery management system can't figure out the actual capacity available. I don't have a driveway, so was not planning to charge to 100% too often

2) Charge rate - this is the big one. Tesla rep insists that all cars have a theoretical maximum charge rate of 250kwh, but that is never achieved in real practice and that's fine. But what they don't say is that LFP batteries have a different thermal model all-together and will likely only charge at 80-90kwh at highest rate, even with preconditioning on. This seems to be reported by many users. What's more interesting is navigating to Tesla Website and looking at the Model 3 advertised specs
- Hong Kong website (which I assume gets LFP by default) advertises "You can charge 270km in 30 minutes at Supercharger locations" (which is 167 miles so you don't bother). That is roughly a sustained 30 minutes charge rate of 80-90kwh given the battery capacity, in line with what everyone is reporting on youtube etc. It's the 2021 model 3 showcased in the image, so it's not old information.
- UK website advertises "You can charge 175miles in 15 minutes at Supercharger locations" which is really in line with a rate of ~ 160-170kwh sustained charging rate for about 15 minutes, again in line with what other users are reporting.

Both UK and HK have 250kwh superchargers (and 150kwh ones) so it's not the chargers, it's the battery type making the difference.

Anyone with a LFP battery willing to test/confirm?
Thank you
View attachment 636133
My guess is the rep is wrong. LFP batteries are heavier and therefore only suitable for lower range vehicles, at the moment. The VIN indicates it’s not LFP, which is likely to be closer to the mark than a rep who probably hasn’t been given an official update, yet.
 

md337

Member
Feb 12, 2021
11
6
London
Could the Tesla rep be wrong? It would seem odd to me that the VIN incorrectly refers to LiIon when it’s actually LFP. I thought elsewhere that only the SR+ has the LFP.
Maybe. I'm asking for clarifications. He knows my orders is a LR AWD and he said "Yes it’s coming from Shanghai, and will contain the batteries that can be charged to 100%. Trust me, this is a good thing! The reason we’re saying you can charge to 100% is because the cell chemistry is different – on the American cars, we recommend charging to 80% daily because charging those cells to 100% regularly will cause excessive wear. That’s not the case with these new ones"
 
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md337

Member
Feb 12, 2021
11
6
London
My guess is the rep is wrong. LFP batteries are heavier and therefore only suitable for lower range vehicles, at the moment. The VIN indicates it’s not LFP, which is likely to be closer to the mark than a rep who probably hasn’t been given an official update, yet.

How does a LFP VIN Looks like? Would be cool if we had one to test it and see. It seems to me that all VIN possible options for character 7 (which tells the battery version) return Lithium Ion. Technically LFP is still Lithium Ion so that is correct.
 
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md337

Member
Feb 12, 2021
11
6
London
Nobody in uk/Ireland has an LFP battery... yet. It would appear from all reports that the additional size vs capacity of LFP means that it's only the Chinese Model 3 SR+ that has the space. No other models have been reported as having this battery chemistry.
True - thank you for this. i will maybe create a message in the German community. They've been receiving LFP equipped cars from December.
 

Cardo

Member
Sep 22, 2020
371
253
Surrey, UK
How does a LFP VIN Looks like? Would be cool if we had one to test it and see. It seems to me that all VIN possible options for character 7 (which tells the battery version) return Lithium Ion. Technically LFP is still Lithium Ion so that is correct.
Unfortunately, looks like I misread the bit about the VIN. The only mentions I can find are where they’re Fremont or China models. However, most people seem to agree only the SR+ models will have the LFP battery due to this being larger per kWh.
To add to the excitement and uncertainty, it’s also suggested MiC LR AWD models might come with the newer 84 kWh packs. o_O
 
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Llama.

Member
Jan 25, 2021
118
61
Leeds, UK
Unfortunately, looks like I misread the bit about the VIN. The only mentions I can find are where they’re Fremont or China models. However, most people seem to agree only the SR+ models will have the LFP battery due to this being larger per kWh.
To add to the excitement and uncertainty, it’s also suggested MiC LR AWD models might come with the newer 84 kWh packs. o_O

Yeah VIN decoder doesn’t seem to offer much help as all of these batteries can reasonably described as Lithium Ion. And that’s all it says with the battery detail.

What’s the source on the 84 kWh battery pack? Keen to read more
 

browellm

Member
Oct 4, 2019
411
359
Notts
Unfortunately, looks like I misread the bit about the VIN. The only mentions I can find are where they’re Fremont or China models. However, most people seem to agree only the SR+ models will have the LFP battery due to this being larger per kWh.
To add to the excitement and uncertainty, it’s also suggested MiC LR AWD models might come with the newer 84 kWh packs. o_O
The LHD Chinese LR cars come with the slightly smaller LG pack. Performance models the larger Panasonic pack. I can’t see this being any different for RHD models on their way here.
 

Arran

Member
Feb 4, 2020
149
104
Southampton
Yeah VIN decoder doesn’t seem to offer much help as all of these batteries can reasonably described as Lithium Ion. And that’s all it says with the battery detail.

What’s the source on the 84 kWh battery pack? Keen to read more

I picked up my M3 back in December 2020. On Delivery day in the glove-box there's a 'Parts List'/Certificate of conformity' which lists the battery variant in the Model 3 that you've got. That's the only hard way that I've read about on these forums, other than plugging into the OBD port with Scan my Tesla. Or with a bore-scope through the Wheel-arch to read the sticker on the pack.

E5D = LG Chem China Pack
E3D = Panasonic US Pack

For the Dec 2020 deliveries (from what I've gathered trying to find out what pack I've got);
- SR+ from China got the E5D LPF pack, and those from the US had a mix of either packs.
- Long Range from the US got Panasonic Packs (This was mainly US and RHD deliveries). And Long Range from China for Europe got LPF Packs.
- Performance only got Panasonic Packs with extended capacity up to 84 kWh. (The only way to tell is with an OBD scanner and Scan My Tesla)

There's also some reports that some Long Range cars got the 84 kWh packs. Currently awaiting my OBD scanner in the post ~
 

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