Re-Introduced Tesla Model 3 LR AWD Is Confusing As Hell: Range, Price, Battery?
We all knew that the re-introduction of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range All-Wheel Drive (LR AWD) in the United States was coming, but this is not what we expected.
The company closed its order books for the Tesla Model 3 LR AWD in August 2022, explaining the move by claiming demand was too high (long waiting queue) and promising that it will return at some point in 2023. The model re-appeared today, but what we see is very confusing.
The new Tesla Model 3 LR AWD starts at $47,240 (plus destination charge), offers “325+” miles of range, a top speed of 145 miles per hour, and a 0-60 mile per hour time of 4.2 seconds. Below, we will step by step examine why those numbers are strange in our opinion.
The new Tesla Model 3 LR AWD has a lower range than the previously retired version. Its range numbers are different than the official 2023 EPA numbers, which indicate that this is a completely different version, which was not even rated yet. Tesla says that the range is estimated, rather than EPA estimated:
- New Tesla Model 3 LR AWD 18-inch: 325+ miles (523 km)
[33 miles or 9.2% less than the retired 2022 model year version – 358 miles]
- New Tesla Model 3 LR AWD 19-inch: 310+ miles (499 km)
[24 miles or 7.2% less than the retired 2022 model year version – 334 miles]
We don’t know the exact EPA Combined range of the new version – it’s expected to be at least 325 and 310 miles, depending on the wheel size – but something caused the noticeable decrease in range.
The question is what and why? A lower battery capacity or a less efficient powertrain (assuming the same battery capacity)?
Regardless of the reason, the new Model 3 LR AWD now has a similar range as the Performance version – 315 miles (507 km) – which has bigger wheels (20-inch). That’s strange.
Not only that, the slightly bigger and heavier Tesla Model Y LR AWD has more range.
The next question then is the battery capacity and type (chemistry-wise and form factor-wise).
Because of the uncompromised performance (0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and 145 mph top speed) and weight of the vehicle (4,034 lbs), we thought that maybe it’s equipped with the all-new Tesla’s in-house 4680-type cylindrical battery cells.
After all, the Tesla Model Y AWD (4680) has a lower battery capacity and 15 percent less range than the LR AWD (2170) version (279 miles vs. 330 miles). However, the car is not eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, but only $3,750. It means that the car does not comply with one of the two requirements:
- 40%of the value of critical minerals need to be mined or processed in the United States (or FTA countries), or recycled in North America
- 50% of the value of battery components must be manufactured or assembled in North America
Most likely, those are not locally produced 4680-type cylindrical battery cells. So maybe the battery cells are imported like in the case of the Tesla Model 3 RWD, powered by CATL’s prismatic LFP battery cells?
Here is a problem with this idea. The range is higher by at least 53 miles (85 km), which is 19.5 percent more than the 272 miles in the RWD. That’s a substantial change. It would require some significantly improved LFP battery cells (CATL’s new Qilin type or something?).
Is it possible to fit additional LFP cells (they have lower energy density than the NCA/NCM used previously in the LR AWD version)? Some, like Troy Teslike, already suggest that it’s not possible because the Tesla Model 3 RWD was already fully packed with LFP cells. The conclusion then is superior LFP or a high-nickel chemistry.
The third option would be that the new Tesla Model 3 LR AWD is equipped with 2170-type battery cells (NCA/NCM), from some other supplier (rather than Panasonic/Tesla Giga Nevada), and those cells are also imported or materials for them are imported.
It would mean, by the way, that the Tesla Giga Nevada’s battery production is insufficient and forced to use lower energy-dense batteries from abroad.
Here are the options:
- old: 2170-type NCA from Panasonic/Tesla Giga Nevada
Another confusing thing about the Tesla Model 3 LR AWD is its pricing, which combined with only a $3,750 federal tax credit, puts it in an awkward position against other Tesla models.
The old version in 2022 was available for around $57,990 (+DST). The new one starts at $47,240 ($1,640 of obligatory costs), which after deducting the federal tax credit is $45,130.
That’s a big positive because we are talking about a 25 percent or so cost decrease and a much faster delivery time (estimated in June 2023 for new orders).
However, because other Tesla cars are currently also less expensive, the question is how the new Model 3 LR AWD is supposed to compete internally with the Performance version or the Tesla Model Y (both eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit)?
Tesla accustomed us to various price changes, but we have not seen anything like that. One can simply order a Model Y LR AWD with 330 miles of range for effectively $44,380 (more car for a similar cost and potentially a higher price when selling it after some time).
Confusion is the right word for today. We guess that all those things are probably just temporary and there will be changes applied in the not-too-distant future – maybe prices will change, maybe the supply chain deal will change to get the full $7,500, or there will be changes to the Model Y.
Below, we attached a full list of Tesla prices and basic specs of all four models.
|Model||Base Price||Dest. Charge||Tax Credit||Effective Price|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD 18-inch||$40,240||+$1,640||$3,750||$38,130|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD 19-inch||$41,740||+$1,640||$3,750||$39,630|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD 18-inch||$47,240||+$1,640||$3,750||$45,130|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD 19-inch||$48,740||+$1,640||$3,750||$46,630|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 Perf. LR AWD 20-inch||$53,240||+$1,640||$7,500||$47,380|
|2023 Tesla Model S LR AWD 19-inch||$87,490||+$1,640||N/A||$89,130|
|2023 Tesla Model S LR AWD 21-inch||$91,990||+$1,640||N/A||$93,630|
|2023 Tesla Model S Plaid 19-inch||$107,490||+$1,640||N/A||$109,130|
|2023 Tesla Model S Plaid 21-inch||$111,990||+$1,640||N/A||$113,630|
|2023 Tesla Model X LR AWD 20-inch||$97,490||+$1,640||N/A||$99,130|
|2023 Tesla Model X LR AWD 22-inch||$102,990||+$1,640||N/A||$104,630|
|2023 Tesla Model X Plaid 20-inch||$107,490||+$1,640||N/A||$109,130|
|2023 Tesla Model X Plaid 22-inch||$112,990||+$1,640||N/A||$114,630|
|2023 Tesla Model Y AWD (4680) 19-inch||$47,240||+$1,640||$7,500||$41,380|
|2023 Tesla Model Y AWD (4680) 20-inch||$49,240||+$1,640||$7,500||$43,380|
|2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD 19-inch||$50,240||+$1,640||$7,500||$44,380|
|2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD 20-inch||$52,240||+$1,640||$7,500||$46,380|
|2023 Tesla Model Y Perf. LR AWD 21-inch||$54,240||+$1,640||$7,500||$48,380|
* Tesla adds a Destination fee (DST) of $1,390 and an Order Fee of $250 to all its models ($1,640 total).
|2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD 18-inch||RWD||60*||272 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD 19-inch||RWD||60*||267 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD 18-inch||AWD||80*||325 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD 19-inch||AWD||80*||310 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model 3 Perf. LR AWD 20-inch||AWD||80*||315 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model S LR AWD 19-inch||AWD||100*||405 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model S LR AWD 21-inch||AWD||100*||375 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model S Plaid 19-inch||AWD||100*||396 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model S Plaid 21-inch||AWD||100*||348 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model X LR AWD 20-inch||AWD||100*||348 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model X LR AWD 22-inch||AWD||100*||330 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model X Plaid 20-inch||AWD||100*||333 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model X Plaid 22-inch||AWD||100*||311 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model Y AWD (4680) 19-inch||AWD||68*||279 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model Y AWD (4680) 20-inch||AWD||68*||269 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD 19-inch||AWD||80*||330 mi|
|2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD 20-inch||AWD||80*||318 mi**|
|2023 Tesla Model Y Perf. LR AWD 21-inch||AWD||80*||303 mi|
* estimated/unofficial/rough values just for illustrative purposes, ** EPA range according to Tesla website
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