Tesla Model 3 Performance documents in Europe hint at exciting motor updates

Key Points

  • 🚗 Tesla may have exciting motor updates for the Model 3 Performance, as hinted by a European Type Certificate from RDW.
  • 🔄 The Model 3 Performance, known for its fun and affordability, was conspicuously absent from recent updates, but a new model with a VIN containing the letter “T” suggests changes.
  • 🛠️ Tesla has used the “T” designation for tri-motor setups in the Model S and Model X Plaid, which raises speculation about the Model 3 Performance’s motor.
  • 📈 Expect potential improvements in the Model 3 Performance’s performance metrics like 0-60 mph time and top speed with the upcoming “Highland” update.

Tesla may be planning something special for the Model 3 Performance “Highland” update. While the vehicle is yet to be released, a European Type Certificate from the RDW suggests that the upcoming all-electric sedan will feature a rather unique electric motor setup. 

The Tesla Model 3 Performance is arguably the company’s most fun car in its lineup. It’s smaller than the Model S Plaid, so it’s very fun to throw around the corners. It’s also quite affordable for what it offers as it currently costs $53,240 in the United States before incentives. For this price, the Model 3 Performance is capable of a 0-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 162 mph. 

During the Model 3’s recent “Highland” refresh, electric vehicle watchers were quite surprised to see that the updated EV only came in two variants, the single-motor RWD and the Long Range Dual Motor AWD. The Model 3 Performance was nowhere to be found. It was a strange omission, all things considered, considering how popular the car is among EV circles.

As noted in a post on the TFF Forum, however, a European Type Certificate from vehicle authority RDW from July listed a new Model 3 Performance. This time around, the vehicle had the letter “T” on its VIN’s eighth digit. Considering that the eighth digit in a VIN typically corresponds to the type of motor in a vehicle, the presence of the letter “T” in the new Model 3 Performance’s VIN is quite interesting. 

Tesla has reportedly used the “T” designation on the European Model S and Model X Plaid’s VIN, though both of these vehicles feature a tri-motor AWD setup. Granted, it is unlikely for Tesla to release a tri-motor Model 3, but the company may adopt one of the Model S/X Plaid’s motors for the upcoming top-tier electric sedan. Having a motor from the company’s flagship vehicles would likely make the Model 3 Performance an even better vehicle, after all. 

It remains to be seen how Tesla would improve the Model 3 Performance since the vehicle is already a great car to begin with. It would not be surprising, however, if Tesla improves some of the key aspects of the Model 3 Performance with its “Highland” update, such as its 0-60 mph time and top-end speed. With such improvements, it would be very difficult for rivals to match the Model 3 Performance on both its price and its capabilities.

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