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Model S Refresh - 2021 or 2022 Model Year?

JeffR

Member
Mar 31, 2021
69
77
San Diego, CA
I know Tesla does not talk much in terms of model years for its releases, but I've been seeing articles from Motor Trend and others referring to the Model S Refresh as the 2022 model. I'm expecting delivery of my Model S LR in August or September. I'm wondering what the consensus is as to whether I should consider it a 2021 or 2022 model. Any thoughts on this?
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
243
204
Columbus, IN
The official model year designation will be contained in the VIN. Model years and calendar year for production do not necessarily follow 1-1. The model year is more a vehicle certification designation. I have not bother searching to see if anyone has listed the VIN of a new Plaid Model S to decode it to know if it shows as 2021 versus 2022.

If you question why would Tesla ever want to consider the car a 2022 MY while still mid-2021, vehicle certification is not a trivial exercise, involves a fair amount of effort. In cases like this when new models are introduced partway through the year, a manufacturer can minimize the need to certify as a 2021 then need to resubmit again a few months later as a 2022. Instead they certify initially as a MY22 and produce under that certification for say upwards of 18+ months, eliminating one round of certification paperwork/effort.
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,696
8,034
Seattle area, WA
Historically, at least until my last Tesla purchase in 2018, the VIN number pretty much reflected the estimated delivery date. One of the Teslas I got was supposed to be delivered in December, I got the VIN for that year, then the delivery window started including January and VIN changed to the next year. They delivered Dec 31st, but the VIN was from the year starting few hours later. Ironically the newer year VIN change actually caused my insurance to be a few dollars more expensive, but it turned out to be worth it when the car was totaled barely over a year later and replacement value was based on "last years model" instead of "two year old model".
 

CapeOne

Member
Jun 14, 2016
954
640
New England
I assume they will be 2022 models especially since the pre-refresh MSs built in the last quarter of 2020 were identified as 2021s. Tesla has been following more of a "model year" format for all of its cars since 2019 when they sold Q4 2019 build cars as 2020s.
 

CapeOne

Member
Jun 14, 2016
954
640
New England
No model years guys

Sure there are! The tenth character of the VIN identifies the model year: L=2020, M=2021. N=2022, etc. Even with Tesla, that doesn't necessarily correspond to the build calendar year.

Below is a screen shot from last October 2020 of new inventory cars on the Tesla website. Although built in 2020, they were clearly identified as 2021 model year cars. Manufacturers use model years even though there may be option, feature, powertrain, color, etc. changes or updates during the model year.

2021models.jpg
 

BrandonLive

MS LR Blue/Black/FSD 19s -> 21s RN11455, VIN!
Sep 24, 2018
340
598
Seattle
The TeslaTap VIN decoder suggests my LR is going to be a 2021 model year. Not sure if that’s accurate or not though.
 

Evee

Member
Nov 24, 2015
310
150
Las Vegas
Sure there are! The tenth character of the VIN identifies the model year: L=2020, M=2021. N=2022, etc. Even with Tesla, that doesn't necessarily correspond to the build calendar year.

Below is a screen shot from last October 2020 of new inventory cars on the Tesla website. Although built in 2020, they were clearly identified as 2021 model year cars. Manufacturers use model years even though there may be option, feature, powertrain, color, etc. changes or updates during the model year.

View attachment 678421
This was simply to conform with ev tax credits. Tesla doesn’t do model years like legacy auto at all. but they have to check the box for it somehow.
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
243
204
Columbus, IN
This was simply to conform with ev tax credits. Tesla doesn’t do model years like legacy auto at all. but they have to check the box for it somehow.
No it's not. There are a variety of vehicle certification requirements which must be completed on a periodic basis and end up being associated with a vehicle model year.
 

CapeOne

Member
Jun 14, 2016
954
640
New England
This was simply to conform with ev tax credits. Tesla doesn’t do model years like legacy auto at all. but they have to check the box for it somehow.

There are a number of reasons why Tesla and other cars have "model years" that have nothing to do with conforming to EV tax credits.

Besides, the fact that a couple of years ago Tesla went from always using build year as the model year (e.g., cars built between January 2017 and December 2017 were 2017 models) to using model years that aren't necessarily tied to build year (e.g., October, November and December 2020 build cars labeled as 2021 models) shows that they had actually chosen to follow more of a traditional model year format in recent years. This change was not because of EV tax credits or other government regulations. Bottom line, Tesla DOES do model years and even more like so-called legacy automakers than they were before.
 

MarcG

Active Member
Oct 29, 2014
3,673
4,742
San Francisco
All VINs assigned and delivered so far are 2021 (letter M in the 10th character)


 

Jaenonymous

Member
Jun 28, 2020
705
1,441
Westerly, RI
This was simply to conform with ev tax credits. Tesla doesn’t do model years like legacy auto at all. but they have to check the box for it somehow.

My Model 3 on the trunk has a sticker. It’s clearly states, 2021 Model 3 Long Range. So yes, Tesla does model years. What they do them for? Why does it matter. They can do them for anything they deem fit, but the fact remains they still do model years.
 

CapeOne

Member
Jun 14, 2016
954
640
New England
Just because it has a year assigned doesn’t make it the same type of model year that legacy auto conforms to.

How are model years currently used by Tesla not the "same type" of model years used by legacy automakers? Like other automakers, Tesla promotes/identifies cars by model year (as shown in my screen shot above). Like other automakers, Tesla designates model years that aren’t necessarily tied to build year e.g., an October, November or December 2019 build Tesla being labeled a 2020 model.
 
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MarcG

Active Member
Oct 29, 2014
3,673
4,742
San Francisco
How are model years currently used by Tesla not the "same type" of model years used by legacy automakers? Like other automakers, Tesla promotes/identifies cars by model year (as shown in my screen shot above). Like other automakers, Tesla designates model years that aren’t necessarily tied to build year e.g., an October, November or December 2019 build Tesla being labeled a 2020 model.
That is all true. And that last bit is relatively recent, they didn’t do that prior to 2019. For example, my P85D was built in December 2014 and was a 2014 model year.

The main bit that’s different from other auto manufacturers is that Tesla doesn‘t wait for model years to make hardware changes, even major ones. Case in point, a 2021 Model S built in late 2020 or early 2021 is a very different car than a 2021 Model S built in June 2021.

Tesla could’ve given the refresh models built in the last month a 2022 model year, but chose not to. Other manufacturers would’ve definitely done that.
 

CapeOne

Member
Jun 14, 2016
954
640
New England
That is all true. And that last bit is relatively recent, they didn’t do that prior to 2019. For example, my P85D was built in December 2014 and was a 2014 model year.

The main bit that’s different from other auto manufacturers is that Tesla doesn‘t wait for model years to make hardware changes, even major ones. Case in point, a 2021 Model S built in late 2020 or early 2021 is a very different car than a 2021 Model S built in June 2021.

Tesla could’ve given the refresh models built in the last month a 2022 model year, but chose not to. Other manufacturers would’ve definitely done that.

Most other automakers don’t wait either. It's not unusual to see updates or changes in availability of powertrains, features, options, colors, etc. during a model year. The one thing that doesn't typically change is overall style. On occasion, you may see notable style changes during a model year and in those cases, the cars will typically be referred to by half years e.g., 2014 and 2014.5. Similar to how some refer to the 2016 MS old nose vs. new nose as 2016 and 2016.5.

I think model years are just a relevant with Tesla as other makes and it looks like Tesla is coming to that conclusion too which is probably why they started following the more traditional model year format in 2019. It's clearly important/relevant to many Tesla buyers as there have been a number of discussions on here and elsewhere among Tesla customers regarding what model year their new car will be.

Also, not all automakers introduce cars with early model years e.g., the Cadillac CT6 officially went on sale more than halfway through the "traditional" model year calendar not as a 2017 model but as a 2016 model. Cadillac could've called it a 2017 but chose not to.
 

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