Tesla Model 3 Overview Updated September 24, 2021

Tesla Model 3 guide: the cheapest Tesla to date

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1,190 'Tesla Model 3' stories

December 2014 - October 2021

Tesla Model 3

As the most affordable EV in the Tesla’s current lineup, the Model 3 has become the best-selling electric vehicle in the world to date, and has helped pushed its creator over the top as the name to beat to the EV market. Below is a guide outlining everything you need to know about the Tesla Model 3 including its history, how much it costs to buy, and even what it’ll (roughly) cost to charge.

The Model 3 – the most affordable Tesla

Even during the early success of Tesla’s Model S and Model X, CEO Elon Musk was publicly focused on the automaker’s goal of delivering an EV for $35,000 that more consumers could afford to drive.

That goal came to fruition in 2016, when Tesla officially announced its new Model 3 sedan, which debuted on the automaker’s third-generation platform now present on both the Model 3 and Model Y.

Some of the early speculation surrounding the Model 3 is quite funny to look back on. There’s a step into the time portal before the world set its eyes on Tesla’s cheapest model:

After receiving over 130,000 reservations in the first 24 hours,Tesla’s most affordable model began delivering to consumers in July 2017.

Since then, it has zoomed past the rest of the market in terms of sales, alongside a refresh in 2021.You can learn more about the 2021 refresh from the Electrek team here:

The Model 3 currently sits as the best-selling BEV on the planet, and continues its reign as Tesla’s top seller year after year.

So what does the current Tesla Model 3 offer, and at what cost? Everything you need to know to get up to speed has been compiled for you below.

Specs

The Model 3 currently comes in three separate trims: a single-motor RWD powertrain in the Standard Range Plus, and two dual motor, AWD trims in the Long Range and Performance versions.

These three variations increase in price respectively and can vary based on a number of add-ons, but more on that later. To begin, let’s focus on what each of these trims can get you in terms of performance and range.

The cheapest and most bare bones of Teslas is the Standard Range Plus Model 3 sedan. This single-motor, RWD trim comes with a 50 kWh battery and offers an estimated 263 miles of range, and a top speed of 140 mph. It can also travel 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

The dual motor AWD Long Range Model 3 offers an estimated range of 353 miles, a top speed of 145 mph, and a 0-60 travel time of 4.2 seconds. This trim along with the Performance version comes with a larger 82 kWh battery.

Speaking of which, the dual motor Performance trim loses some mileage compared to the Long Range Model 3, offering an estimated range of 315 miles. However, where it lacks in range, it makes up for in speed, topping out at 162 mph and traveling 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds (without rollout subtracted).

No matter what trim you choose, the Model 3 comes with seating for up to five, and offers 23 cubic feet of cargo space.

Top speed of the Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 is by no means the fastest of Tesla’s current fleet (although it remains the cheapest option). That being said, this EV still offers sufficient speed for an electric sedan. Here are the top speeds for all three current trims of the Model 3:

  • Standard Range Plus – 140 mph
  • Long Range – 145 mph
  • Performance – 162 mph

How much does a Tesla Model 3 weigh?

This may seem like an odd question, but it’s one we come across a lot. The Standard Range Plus Model 3 weighs 3,582 lbs., while both the Long Range and Performance trims come in at 4,065 lbs.

Tesla Model 3

How much does a Tesla Model 3 cost?

The next question to arise is almost always, How much does this Tesla cost?

Prices vary depending on the trim, cosmetic customizations, and a number of add-ons. To give you the full perspective of what you might pay for a Tesla, we’re going to give you both the high and low end of each variation.

Note: All prices are accurate at the time of this posting and do no include any destination fees, taxes, or federal tax rebates. Let’s begin with the most affordable Model 3, the Standard Range Plus.

This trim starts at a purchase price of $39,990 with zero upgrades, and can go as high as $54,490. The latter price includes every top feature available such as red paint, white interior, 19-inch sport wheels, and full self- driving capabilities.

If you’re looking to drive the cheapest version of the cheapest Tesla, you may have to wait a bit. Tesla recently announced a six month delay on the Standard Range Model 3, now arriving in January of 2022.

The Long Range Model 3 starts at $49,990 and can reach a top end price of $64,490 with all the aforementioned add-ons.

Lastly, the Performance version of the Model 3 starts at $56,990 and reach a top end price of $69,990 including 20″ Überturbine wheels.

Prices vary in the Chinese market, but Tesla has recently lowered the Model 3 price in Asia.

Earlier this year, Electrek‘s own Michelle Lewis purchased her very first Tesla, and has documented the entire purchasing process, updating us every couple months following her Model 3 delivery.

Why have Model 3 prices gone up?

Remember that goal mentioned above about delivering a $35,000 EV to the masses? Well, Tesla actually pulled it off, but only for a fleeting moment, likely to give Tesla the credit to say it had in fact hit the price point originally promised by Elon Musk.

In November 2020, Tesla quietly removed this $35,000 option to make room for its 2021 refresh. Currently, the cheapest Tesla you can buy is the Model 3 for $39,990 before taxes, fees, or rebates.

Refreshed interior on the Model 3 / Source: Tesla

How long does it take to charge a Model 3?

Another common question among new or prospective Tesla owners is How long does it take to charge a Tesla? Much like the Model 3 pricing, a number of factors contribute to how quickly you can get your Tesla recharged and back on the road.

First, it’s important to have a clear understanding of EV charging standards and how they vary. From here, you’ll be able to better understand the three levels of charging, and what sort of times you can expect to encounter with your Tesla.

Again, charge times may vary based on these factors, but here’s a broad breakdown of Tesla charge speeds.

  • Level 1 AC (110-120V outlet at home): 20-40 hours
  • AC Level 2 (220-240V – Third party chargers/Tesla chargers/Tesla home charger): 8-12 hours
  • Level 3 DC fast charger (480+ volts – Third party chargers/Tesla Supercharger): 15-25 minutes

When you’re in a pinch or on a road trip, the Tesla Supercharger network is by all means the best choice. However, due to their massive direct current (DC), Superchargers are not recommended for daily charging.

Tesla recommends Level 2 charging at home if possible.

For more information on Tesla’s Supercharger network, check out our detailed guide.

What is the max Supercharging power available on the Model 3?

Tesla’s Superchargers can draw some massive power directly from the grid to help charge your Tesla quickly.

With that said, you’ll want to be aware of what the maximum level of power your Model 3 can handle while charging.

For example, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 has a maximum power of 170 kW, while the other two dual motor trims can handle a max power of 250 kW.

This might call for an over-the-air update to the Model 3 if possible, because Musk has just recently mentioned future Superchargers capable of delivering 300 kW of power.

How much does it cost to charge a Model 3?

Another common question that is not so easily answered is, How much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Again, there are a number of factors that contribute to this approximate number. Everything from what state you live in, to the level of charging, all the way to what time of day it is.

By gathering average residential energy costs in the US from the Energy Information Administration, we are able to share an estimated cost to charge at home on either Level 1 or Level 2 AC charging.

Cost to charge at home

The 50 kWh battery on the Standard Range Plus Model 3 will cost approximately $8.24 to charge from 0 to 100%.

The 82 kWh battery in the other two trims will cost $13.51 on average in the US, while accounting for an 85% charging efficiency (AC charging loses energy in the form of heat by converting it to DC for the EV battery).

In terms of mileage, the Long Range Model 3 equates to about $0.038 per mile and $3.83 for 100 miles of range. The Performance trim costs about $0.043 per mile or $4.39 per 100 miles.

Lastly, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 will cost approximately $0.031 per mile and only $3.13 for 100 miles of range.

Cost to charge on a Supercharger

Since Superchargers pull DC power directly from the grid, they are much more efficient and can lead to lower charging costs alongside much faster speeds.

The 50 kWh battery on the Standard Range Plus Model 3 costs roughly $5.79 to fully charge, while the 82 kWh battery on either of the other two trims totals around $9.49 each.

In terms of mileage, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 costs about $0.022 per mile and $2.20 for 100 miles of range.

The Performance trim costs around $0.030 per mile or $3.01 per 100 miles.

Finally, the Long Range Model 3 is approximately $0.027 per mile on a DCFC, equaling around $2.69 per 100 miles.

Model 3 FAQ

What’s the cheapest Tesla you can buy?

Easy. That would be the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, starting at $39,990 before taxes, fees, or tax rebates.

Can you lease a Tesla Model 3?

Definitely. Check out our Tesla lease guide for the latest terms and prices:
How much is a Tesla lease? Everything you need to know

What’s the closest Tesla to the Model 3?

The Model 3 resembles the Model S because they are both sedans, but it shares a majority of the same DNA with the Model Y, as both sit upon the same platform.

Does the Model 3 come with free unlimited supercharging?

If you’re buying a brand new Model 3, you do not qualify for free unlimited supercharging from Tesla.
Some Performance versions of the Model 3 did come with free unlimited Supercharging for the life of the EV in 2018-2019. With that said, that deal only applied to the original owner of the EV and is non-transferrable.
You can check for yourself here.

Read more:

Tesla Model 3 Stories October 25

The Tesla Model 3 has become the first all-electric car to become the best-selling vehicle in Europe.

However, that’s on a monthly basis and Tesla’s deliveries vary widely on a monthly basis.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories October 22

Tesla is increasing prices for the base versions of the Model 3 and Model Y base prices, the second time this month alone.

Delivery timelines slip a few months again.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories October 21

Tesla confirmed that it is moving Model 3 Standard Range production to Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery cells at Fremont factory.

The company also wants the production of the cell, which has been only produced in China, to be closer.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories October 15

Tesla has slashed its included premium connectivity period to 30 days for all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. People are now going to have to pay sooner if they want to retain access to some of Tesla’s connectivity features.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories October 13

So you’re thinking of getting a Tesla and wonder, “how much is a lease?” Smart choice. Have you considered the Tesla’s cheapest EV, the Model 3? Or perhaps you have the money to splurge on the Model S Plaid? What color? What added features? Should you buy instead of lease? These are all questions you’ll need to consider before your first zero-emission joy ride.

Fear not prospective leasee, below is a comprehensive guide outlining what a new Tesla lease entails, and what options to consider before you put the pedal to the floor.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories October 12

There are several game-changing elements the EV world has patiently but attentively kept tabs on in recent years – solid state batteries, fully-autonomous driving, whether some of these SPAC mergers will actually produce a series production vehicle. As one of the largest names in electric vehicles, Tesla has promised several products over the years. – some of which it has delivered, but many it has yet to (ahem, Cybertruck and 2nd Gen. Roadster). Another fabled prospect promised by Tesla is a $25,000 model. While the automaker has only caught a quick whiff of EV pricing within $10K of that figure, it’s apparently still imminent. Here’s everything we know to date.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories October 6

Tesla has implemented a price increase across its entire Model 3 and Model Y lineup in an overnight update to its online configurator in the US.

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How much is a Tesla? Your guide to Tesla prices

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Tesla Model 3 Stories September 20

My first Tesla was delivered on June 29, one day before the end of the second quarter (wink, wink, Tesla). So that means my husband and I have now been driving our Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus for two months. Here’s how it’s going. (Oh, and our car’s name is Nigel, since a couple of people asked.)

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Tesla Model 3 Stories August 27

The Tesla Model S and Model 3 provide drivers with either a taste of veteran performance, or refreshing innovation and value. Both combine to form the US automaker’s line of electric sedans, although they share more of their mechanical makeup with their respective assembly-line SUV partners. Below is a comprehensive breakdown comparing the two to help you decide which sedan may be best for you.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories August 26

Tesla has started sending a cryptic email to Model 3 buyers in the US about an opportunity to accelerate their 3 deliveries.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories August 12

Tesla has now pushed new Model 3 Standard Range Plus orders to 6 months out, all the way to January 2022. There are likely several factors at play.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories August 7

A salvaged Tesla Model 3 was modified by a bunch of tinkerers to become the ultimate off-road machine ready for Mad Max or the zombie apocalypse.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories August 5

As the two youngest electric vehicles to join Tesla’s fleet, the Model 3 and Model Y have quickly helped propel the automaker to a market cap over $700 billion. While both EVs share several of the same parts, they do remain unique from one another in many ways. While not exhaustive, this side by side comparison of the Tesla Model 3 vs. Model Y should help you get a basic idea for how these cars differ…

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Tesla Model 3 Stories August 2

When learning more about Tesla and its growing fleet of EVs, consumers new to the market have a lot of the same questions. Inquiries such as How much does a Tesla cost? How long does it take to charge a Tesla? How much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Believe it or not, one of the most frequent questions we receive in addition to those above is, How much does a Tesla weigh?

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Tesla Model 3 Stories July 30

Tesla has reduced the price of the Model 3 Standard Range in China, as the price of the same vehicle produced in the US has been going up.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories July 27

A battle is emerging in the world of transportation – the electric vehicle (EV) vs. the internal combustion engine (ICE). Soon you’ll have to choose sides, so it’s vital that you’re fully informed.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories July 22

Tesla (TSLA) has again increased Model 3 and Model Y prices in an overnight update to its online configurator.

It’s the seventh price increase of the year.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories July 19

Chinese EV automaker XPeng Motors has shared pricing on its upcoming P5 sedan, and it’s quite ambitious. The automaker has officially begun accepting pre-orders on the P5, and has shared that the pricing will begin at 160,000 yuan ($24,650), significantly lower than competitor Tesla’s Model 3, which starts at 250,900 yuan ($38,650) in China.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories July 15

Tesla has mysteriously removed the Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor from its Chinese configurator, which means that it has stopped taking new orders for the popular version of the electric car in China.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories July 5

I’ve been writing for Electrek for nearly two years now, and last week, I took delivery of a Tesla Model 3 – my very first electric car. Here’s how the whole process went, from the initial order to final delivery.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories June 29

Tesla’s active safety features powered by its new Tesla Vision computer vision system without radar are proving to be at least as good as radar in a new independent test.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories June 28

Here’s a funny and light little post to start off your Monday. A Tesla owner received a parking ticket from GM when parking in a lot at its Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri that is meant for domestic vehicles.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories June 23

Tesla has sneaked its way to the top of the list of the most American-made cars.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories June 18

As business and national attractions begin to finally open their doors to the public and even allow full capacity, the long-overdue list of activities to do this summer and beyond is miles long. A key factor in experiencing many of these ventures requires some time in your car, and hopefully, it’s an EV — perhaps even a Tesla. Below is a detailed breakdown of what EVs garner the lowest cost per mile, as well as a list of the most (and least) affordable states to charge and drive your Tesla.

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Tesla has reportedly built its own police car based on the Model 3 electric sedan in the United Kingdom, and it plans to use it to test the UK emergency vehicle market.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories June 3

The new Tesla Model S Plaid has reportedly achieved a new quarter-mile world record with a 9.2-second run, according to Jay Leno, who was at the racetrack for the record attempt.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories May 28

Tesla has issued a voluntary recall on some Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built over the last three years due to brake caliper bolts potentially not being secured properly.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories May 7

Tesla updated its online configurator for Model 3 and Model Y overnight to increase the prices across the lineup.

This is just the latest small price increase in a long series that is starting to add up.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories April 26

Tesla announced that the Model 3 has become the best-selling premium sedan in the world – beating the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Exports of made-in-China Model 3 vehicles helped Tesla achieve this milestone.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories April 22

Tesla Model 3 and Model Y prices have been on a roller coaster so far in 2021 and now they went up again in a new update today.

The cheapest Tesla now starts at $39,000.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories April 9

Tesla is now starting to advertise the Model 3 with 93 miles of range, which aims to give buyers access to local EV incentives, on its website in Canada.

Previously, this version of the Model 3 was hidden.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories March 24

Tesla has increased the price of the two cheapest trims of the Model 3 – the automaker’s third price change in just two months.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories March 18

The UK delivered a blow to Tesla today as it abruptly decided to change its EV incentive program to now exclude the Model 3, which was the best-selling electric car in the country.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories March 5

Electrek‘s Michelle Lewis spoke with three electric car owners in Texas. They each explained how their EVs helped them get through February’s deep freeze and rolling blackouts.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories February 25

Consumer Reports has launched a new Green Choice program for cars. It will use a green leaf icon to identify the new cars, SUVs, and minivans with the best fuel efficiency and lowest contributions to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and smog formation.

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Tesla is shutting down a Model 3 production line at the Fremont, California, factory for two weeks amid an industrywide microchip shortage.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories February 17

Tesla has updated its pricing across the Model 3 and Model Y lineup, including price cuts for both base models.

The new cheapest Tesla vehicle now starts just under $37,000.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories February 4

Tesla Model 3 is still the best-selling electric car in the world, and no other vehicle program is even coming close.

Automakers other than Tesla are going to have to invest more in high-volume electric vehicles.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories January 26

How to test drive a Tesla during the COVID-19 pandemic

Perhaps you’ve seen Tesla’s recent market cap soar over $850 billion. Maybe you’ve been reading about the long rumored refreshes coming to the Tesla Model S and Model X. It could even be that you’ve seen tons of Model 3 sedans on the road lately, and you want to see what all the hype is about. No matter the reason, there’s plenty of opportunities to test out a Tesla before you commit to buying one. While remedies and vaccines are on the horizon, Tesla’s modified test drive procedures to ensure safety and social distancing are still in effect — here’s how it works.

Tesla Model 3 Stories January 24

While electric vehicles like Tesla have continued to grow in sales exponentially in recent years, they are still a fairly new concept for many people. A majority of consumers purchasing EVs have never previously owned one and may not be aware of the ways traditional ICE vehicles differ. Since these vehicles are electric, the battery is essentially your gas tank, and its health is vital to the longevity of the vessel. Below are some tips to help you get the most range out of your Tesla.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories January 20

Tesla is hinting at finally releasing a tow hitch option for the Model 3 electric sedan in North America, according to a new document.

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Tesla has reduced Model 3 prices in several European markets, which could be partly linked to exchange rate changes – though the correlation is not exactly consistent.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories January 19

We are just a couple weeks removed from Tesla’s “lit” holiday update (2020.48.26) and now have further improvements to share. This past week, certain Tesla drivers began to report a new software update available for download. While these two updates are mostly bug fixes, there are some 2020.48.35 Tesla release notes to share to keep you informed. Let’s break it all down below.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories January 10

If you’re reading this article, you know Tesla. You may even be reading this from inside your Model 3 as it’s docked at a Supercharger. As we desperately scramble away from the ceaseless test of will that was 2020, we look toward to the new year with newfound hope and optimism. 2021 is a big year for everyone and everything, including electric vehicles. To help keep you in the know for the future, here are several of the best Tesla alternatives and where they currently lie on their journey up the EV ladder.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories January 7

In December 2019, plugin electric vehicles (PEVs) made up 6.6% of the UK market share. In December 2020, PEVs made up 23.4% of the market share. That’s a huge jump in just one year for PEV sales in the UK.

And the Tesla Model 3 was the UK’s best selling auto overall in the last month of 2020, at 5,798 vehicles.

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Tesla Model 3 Stories January 3

Tesla has updated the Model 3 again with a new design accent recently introduced in the new Model Y in China and the long-awaited heated steering wheel.

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