Tesla Model 3 Performance Facelift May Get New Motor, VIN Suggests

When Tesla unveiled the facelifted Model 3 at the end of August for Europe, China, and other markets around the world – not North America, though – there was one notable trim level missing from the lineup, the range-topping Model 3 Performance.

Tesla did not mention it at all in the press release, and the online configurator launched in those markets with only the single-motor RWD and Long Range Dual Motor AWD trim levels. On top of that, in some markets like Australia, customers who had ordered the Model 3 Performance reported that Tesla canceled their orders shortly after the sales launch of the facelifted Model 3 in the country.

Understandably, this contributed to the emergence of rumors that Tesla might not offer the Model 3 Performance anymore. Well, it looks like the M3P will probably return, as suggested by a European Type Certificate from the RDW, the Netherlands’ vehicle authority.

If genuine, the document issued in July and posted on the TFF Forum (via Teslarati) proves not only that the facelifted Model 3 Performance is on the way but also that it’s coming with some interesting powertrain updates.


More specifically, the vehicle’s VIN has the letter “T” in the eighth position, which typically corresponds to the type of motor in a vehicle. Since the outgoing Model 3 Performance has the letter “L” in the same position, this suggests that the facelifted variant will feature a different type of motor.

Tesla has reportedly used the “T” designation on the VINs of the European Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid, which feature a tri-motor powertrain. Does this mean that the Model 3 Performance is also getting three motors?

That’s unlikely because a tri-motor Model 3 Performance would probably outperform the Model S Plaid, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has categorically dismissed that possibility in an interview earlier this year.

There’s a higher likelihood that the “T” in the VIN indicates that the Model 3 Performance may adopt one of the Plaid rear motors. This would give M3P owners not only bragging rights but also increased performance.

For now, this is just an assumption, and it will be interesting to see how (and if) Tesla improves the Model 3 Performance. The 0-60 mph time and top speed would be the most obvious targets, but that won’t be easy seeing as the outgoing M3P does 0-60 in 3.1 seconds and tops out at 162 mph. 

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