Tesla Model 3 ‘Acceleration Boost’ tested: 0-60 in 3.8, more power and torque

Tesla’s “Acceleration Boost” upgrade for Dual Motor Model 3s went live yesterday, and we’ve already seen the results of one test showing that Tesla’s promised half-second improvement to 0-60 times seems roughly accurate.

The results of this first test were posted to Reddit by user Wugz. Wugz also previously tested Tesla’s “5% performance boost” that went live in November.

Wugz’s test used data directly from the Model 3’s CAN bus. The CAN bus is a diagnostic port in every car that can be used to read data directly from the car’s computer.

There are some ways that CAN bus data is more or less accurate than other measurements. For example, it doesn’t account for rollouts, which are common in 0-60 testing and drag race conditions.  But since Wugz compared CAN bus tests under roughly similar conditions, the numbers should provide a fair comparison.

Wugz did multiple tests and averaged out the results, driving in both directions on the same road, making this data relatively sound. There could have been different atmospheric conditions from one day to the next, which would affect the test. For example, the road might have been a bit colder this month than last, which affects traction negatively.

All car-related tests suffer from some amount of this, so data and 0-60 times can never be completely perfect, and everything is a rough estimation to some extent. He didn’t have a long-enough road to get quarter-mile times.

But in the data, there is a clear pattern that the Model 3 Acceleration Boost upgrade is quite effective.

In his tests of the Model 3 after last month’s performance boost (and before this acceleration boost upgrade), Wugz read the Model 3 AWD as having 333kW (447 hp) of peak power. This resulted in a 0-60 time of a little under 4.2 seconds, and a 0-160km/h (roughly 100 mph) time of just over 9.0 seconds.

Now, with the new “Acceleration Boost” upgrade, Wugz measured peak power of 371 kW (497 hp), for a boost of 50 horsepower from the update. This is about 11% more power and resulted in a quicker 0-60 time, just under 3.8 seconds.

This is not quite the half-second improvement that Tesla promised, but very close, and the time is lower than the 3.9 seconds promised by Tesla. The Model 3 also showed more than a half-second improvement in 0-160km/h, with a time just under 8.5 seconds.

There was also a 12% increase in total peak torque, with a significant increase to front motor peak torque and a slight increase at the rear motor. Interestingly, the rear motor actually lost a little bit of peak power in the tradeoff, though gained peak torque.

Click through to imgur for a graph Wugz made of his results:

Model 3 P3D vs. AWD vs. AWD+

Electrek’s Take

It’s pretty incredible to see these performance improvements being delivered through over-the-air updates. Between October (before the 5% update) and now, Wugz found a total increase of 61 kW (82hp) and more than a full second improvement in 0-160km/h times.

The first half of that improvement was even free, and the second improvement comes at a not-too-crazy cost of $2,000. Plenty of people have spent similar amounts of money on smaller performance improvements for hobby track cars.

These results also make it pretty clear that the Model 3 has a more powerful front motor inside it than we thought, and that the hardware differences between performance and regular models are minimal.

Though it is getting confusing to compare various performance metrics for Model 3s. Even though there’s only one model of the car and just a couple battery configurations, there are all kinds of different levels of performance between pre- and post-update cars, Acceleration Boost upgrade, and “stealth” performance cars.

Which is, in a way, a nice thing. When the Model 3 first came out, I thought it would be boring that now everyone I know is going to get the same car (since, well, it’s the best thing on sale right now). But now there’s so much differentiation between various Model 3 spec levels that you can still compare and contrast differences with your friends. It makes my street with six Teslas on it (welcome to suburban Southern California) seem a little less boring.

A cynic could look at this and say that the Model 3 was just holding performance back, but the same could be said of any car that gets performance improvements from one model year to the next. Tesla, at least, is allowing customers to access that extra power on older vehicles without having to buy a whole new car. And in the case of the 5% upgrade, they’re just giving it away for free.

We’ve seen other automakers do the same recently, notably Jaguar and Audi, which both updated their cars for better specs. It would be great if Tesla started a trend here.

What do you think about the Acceleration Boost upgrade?  Tempted to get it, or is your Model 3 quick enough for you already? Let us know in the comments below.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co