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Tesla’s First Identified China-Made Model 3 Design Update Hints at a More Mature Production Process

by Claribelle Deveza January 08, 2020


Tesla’s first China-made Model 3 design update was recently identified in a post on Weibo. Compared to US-made vehicles produced at Tesla's main factory in CA, the GF3-made Model 3 featured a slight change in the placement of its ID number. This hints that the EV automaker may be adopting a more mature production process for the vehicle in Gigafactory 3.

In a recent post on Weibo, Tesla enthusiast Changyan CY shared images of a small change that has been made in Tesla’s locally-made sedan. The identification code of the domestically-produced Model 3 was printed underneath the back of the passenger seat next to the driver’s seat. 

The auto enthusiast posted a message on Weibo—China’s Twitter—about the change. “Starting today, there should be a large number of [drivers] starting to get domestically-produced Model 3[s]. There is a change related to car inspection,” Changyan wrote.

“The vehicle identification code no longer needs to be pulled out of the B pillar as before, and is uniformly-printed behind the front passenger seat,” the EV enthusiast added. So far, Model 3s made in Fremont have their ID codes placed in the B pillar. No instances have been reported to prove otherwise.

Credit: Changyan CY/Weibo

When automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro first examined the Model 3, he stated that there were a lot of unnecessary parts to the all-electric sedan, which made the car heavier and did not really give any advantages for the vehicle. During Munro's teardown of the Model 3, he called its build quality "terrible." He specifically talked about the lack of door latches for the rear passenger seats and the inconsistent panel gaps on the Model 3.

Elon Musk graciously contacted Munro about his thoughts on the Model 3's build. The had a private discussion about the topic and Munro gave Musk over 200 suggestions that could improve and optimize the design of Tesla's affordable sedan.

Musk explained that the engineer in charge of original Model 3's design had already been fired, to which Munro stated that the engineer shouldn't have been hired in the first place. With their discussion in mind, and considering these small subtle changes in the MIC Model 3, Tesla may have taken some of Munro's advice about the Model 3 to heart. 

Elon-Musk-Vice-Mayor-of-Shanghai-3 Credit: @jsrdctz/Twitter

Besides Munro's advice, Tesla also seems to have developed its production process more. During the MIC Model 3 delivery event, Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla had some advanced manufacturing technologies in store for Model Y production in Gigafactory 3. The same advancements could have been applied to the Model 3.

The only other difference with the locally-made Model 3 would be its Chinese badge at the back. Tesla China kicked off MIC Model 3 deliveries yesterday with CEO Elon Musk. The new placement of the electric sedan’s ID number has been the only design update reported by reservation holders who just received their orders.

There may be other updates to the MIC Model 3 that could emerge as more reservation holders get their domestically-produced Tesla sedan. The small change may be insignificant to some, but it does show that the American car company is still improving the Model 3’s design.

Featured Image Credit: Changyan CY/Weibo

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