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Some advice on a used model 3 vs. ordering.

Reno Dan

Member
May 24, 2019
6
0
Reno
Hi all-
Looking for some specifics on model 3 years. I believe that tesla has made some updates over the years and I would only be interested in a car that has the most updated computers, etc. I would like the ability to go to FSD at some point.
In my state, there is no sales tax on a private party sale, so this reduces my cash out by almost 9%.
I would like a dual motor and if I could choose would go with a performance, but could live with a long range.
Any help is appreciated, I can't seem to find clear information on updates for each model year.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,670
23,248
NC
Tesla doesn't generally tie feature changes to model years as legacy does.

Tesla does continuous improvements- when a new, better, part is ready, it goes into the car.

For example the HW3 FSD computer went into cars in roughly April of 2019 because that's when it was ready. So there's 2019 models built with the old one, and others built with the new one.


That said- if you plan to buy FSD, the price includes upgrading the computer if your car has the older one- so no concern there really.

(If you want to use the subscription however you'd need to pay $1000 for the upgrade)
 

bjrosen

Member
Apr 19, 2019
369
388
Westford MA
The HW3 computer came in the middle of 2019, the heat pump in Oct 2020, a bigger battery in early 2021, the big battery might have come with the heat pump but to be safe assume a few months later. Ask for the build date of the car, to be on the safe side for the HW3 computer look for July 2019 or later, for the heat pump I'd look for Dec 2020 or later.
 
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bjrosen

Member
Apr 19, 2019
369
388
Westford MA
The range went from 310 miles to 353 miles with all of the upgrades, so yes you want the bigger battery if you can get it. To get all of those upgrades you are looking at a very new car so the price will be correspondingly higher. With Superchargers the range bump, while nice to have, isn't really necessary, there won't be any places that you can go with a 2021 that you couldn't go with a 2019. The HW3 upgrade is very important. If you buy FSD outright, $10,000, you'll get a free upgrade but if you do a subscription then you will have to pay for the new computer out of pocket. BTW FSD goes with the car in a private party sale, if the previous owner paid for it then you'll get it. If you buy a used car from Tesla that originally had FSD you won't necessarily get it. Tesla is free to remove software updates for any car that passes though their hands. If you find a used car with FSD make sure you check out the software screen in the car to see what features it has, if it has FSD or Power Boost it will be shown on the display. Don't trust anything the seller says about those features especially if it's a used car dealer or somebody like Carvana. It's not like they are deliberately lying, they just don't understand Tesla's. You can find the build date on the door and the software features in the display. There is also an online VIN number decoder that will tell you a lot about what the car has. Tesla doesn't have model years per se, they add or subtract features as it suits them.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,670
23,248
NC
Two things I want to highlight from this post-


. Don't trust anything the seller says about those features especially if it's a used car dealer or somebody like Carvana. It's not like they are deliberately lying, they just don't understand Tesla's. You can find the build date on the door and the software features in the display.


Absolutely this.

I've seen a ton of folks report finding the car on the lot not remotely matching the features of the one advertised.


.
There is also an online VIN number decoder that will tell you a lot about what the car has.


For 2019 and older it won't actually tell you anything useful other than if it's single or dual motor. It won't even tell you for dual-motor cars if it's a P or not.

Starting with 2020s the P now has a distinguishing entry in the VIN so from 2020 forward it's useful for that-- though you can also just check the on-screen display for the red underline that's also unique to a P.

No info about optioning, apart from the motor, is encoded in the VIN though.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
11,476
13,373
Riverside Co. CA
Hey Dan, could you PM me? I would PM you but I don't have enough posts yet apparently. Thanks

Why is a PM needed to answer this question?


OP, in addition to the posts from @Knightshade and @bjrosen the model 3 is not quite like the S and X in terms of cut off times for certain things etc.

With that being said...

1. *Roughly* April 2019 Tesla switched from Hardware 2.5 to Hardware 3 (otherwise known as the FSD computer). I say "roughly" because, while the swap was made in april of 2019, if someone didnt order FSD after that date, it was still very possible to get the comparatively older HW 2.5 in cars made after april of 2019. you would have to actually look at the additional features on the vehicle and see if it says "FSD computer"

Not quite as much of an issue, because you can purchase the new HW 3 computer from tesla to have them install it if you want, and if you purchase FSD outright it comes with that computer upgrade. Still, the fanciest visualizations on screen require HW3.

2. Model Year 2021s have a heat pump for more efficient use of heating. vs older models.

3. Model year 2021s can have a heated steering wheel vs older model years.

4. Long Range model 3s (LR /AWD) purchased before *roughly* march of 2019 likely have the 980 rear motor vs the 990. No difference in regular usage, but if one is looking to buy after market boost kits etc, you would want that 980 motor.

Thats all I can think of, off the top of my head.
 

HenryT

Member
Jan 29, 2020
814
717
Manchester
Hi all-
Looking for some specifics on model 3 years. I believe that tesla has made some updates over the years and I would only be interested in a car that has the most updated computers, etc. I would like the ability to go to FSD at some point.
In my state, there is no sales tax on a private party sale, so this reduces my cash out by almost 9%.
I would like a dual motor and if I could choose would go with a performance, but could live with a long range.
Any help is appreciated, I can't seem to find clear information on updates for each model year.
Try this - teslatap.com/articles/timelines-for-vehicles-and-variants
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,165
14,155
San Diego
I believe that tesla has made some updates over the years and I would only be interested in a car that has the most updated computers, etc. I would like the ability to go to FSD at some point.

There are obviously a ton of small changes that are very difficult to track. But some of the more significant ones:

Rear motor - outlined above.

HW3 computer - timeline covered above. Build date later in 2019 should ensure that's what you have, and I think there's some easy way to ID it (I think there might be a way to look under the glovebox or something but I don't remember). (Ah - "FSD Computer" I guess is visible on the screen it sounds like?)

Heat pump: Late 2020 builds (must be 2021 model year) include this as mentioned above. Can help achievable range in cold winter climates substantially. (Is the main reason for the 322 -> 353 rated mile bump since it changes the scalar used; does not substantially change efficiency in best-case conditions (no heating/cooling) though.)

Note that the range bump from 310->322rmi (actually possibly 332rmi if you read between the lines a bit, since the 2020 Performance 18" measured at 332 rated miles and was reduced voluntarily to 322rmi) may well apply to almost all 2018/2019 vehicles (there were multiple software improvement to increase efficiency, but they are not reflected in the displayed rated range for older vehicles, but that doesn't mean the range isn't improved). So end result is you're looking at something like a 7% increase in range in 2021 (~332->353), subject to the caveat that that would happen only in somewhat chilly conditions, where the heat pump was helping you that much, and the improvement would be less at high speeds, where range really matters, because there aero losses are a larger percentage of the overall force required to move the vehicle, and Wh/mi allocated to heating is reduced the higher the speed (shorter time to travel each mile)). This is all with an identical battery size; no assumptions about increased battery size.

Larger battery: Transition to 82.1kWh occurred sometime around Q2 2021 in AWDs. All 2021 Performance, regardless of build date, seem to have the 82.1kWh battery. All earlier LR/P vehicles (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) (except perhaps the very first RWD, but these are very rare, so I have no idea) started with ~77.8kWh batteries.

(This whole 2021 battery discussion is for the US vehicles only - it's MUCH more complicated for European vehicles since they have all kinds of batteries used.)

One important thing to watch for, for a well-used car is to look up the post on how to assess battery health in the Battery section. You can use the energy screen to get within ~1kWh of the value (assuming degradation has started to show). Generally the BMS estimates are pretty close (there are rare exceptions), but you don't want to purchase a vehicle which is well below the norm for capacity loss (expect about 10% for a vehicle a couple years old, but you can do better). I'd be looking for capacity above 70kWh (fair) or 73kWh (good) for a vehicle that's a couple years old. For younger 2021 vehicles you have to be more strict; they should show very little capacity loss at this time (many still show maximum rated range indicating capacity exceeding the degradation threshold of 77.8kWh (LR) or ~80.7kWh (P) ).


The range went from 310 miles to 353 miles with all of the upgrades, so yes you want the bigger battery if you can get it.
To be clear, AWD non-P vehicles with the 77.8kWh battery had 353 rated miles (just like the 310-mile version). But later on in 2021, all AWD non-P vehicles seem to have transitioned to "82.1kWh" (usually more like 79-81kWh). So the later 2021 vehicles have more real-world range (though they still show 353 rated miles at full charge when new, for the time being - I guess I expect 2022 vehicles to be announced with a range increase to drive demand - even though (perhaps) nothing will be different (there of course could be other optimizations beyond the pack capacity, like hairpin motor windings or whatever, but what is going to happen there isn't 100% clear at the moment)).
 
Last edited:

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
11,476
13,373
Riverside Co. CA
One important thing to watch for, for a well-used car is to look up the post on how to assess battery health in the Battery section. You can use the energy screen to get within ~1kWh of the value (assuming degradation has started to show). Generally the BMS estimates are pretty close (there are rare exceptions), but you don't want to purchase a vehicle which is well below the norm for capacity loss (expect about 10% for a vehicle a couple years old, but you can do better). I'd be looking for capacity above 70kWh (fair) or 73kWh (good) for a vehicle that's a couple years old. For younger 2021 vehicles you have to be more strict; they should show very little capacity loss at this time (many still show maximum rated range indicating capacity exceeding the degradation threshold of 77.8kWh (LR) or ~80.7kWh (P) ).

OP, here is the link to the "how to assess battery health" post that @AlanSubie4Life mentioned.

 
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