Trevor, founder of Tesla Owners Online, has shared his thoughts about the new 2021 Tesla Model 3 refresh in his latest video. The first thing Trevor pointed out, besides the M in the VIN number, is the trim. He noted that this carryover from the Model Y may find itself on the Model X and Model S as well.
Another change Trevor noticed was the new aero wheel caps. “They’re better looking if you ask me,” he said, while pointing out that the edges of the wheel are a little sharper. Other than that, they are still the same aluminum alloy underneath as you can find on previous Tesla Model 3 vehicles.
Opening the frunk of the car, Trevor explores the new tub, which is deeper than in previous cars, but what Trevor (and everyone else) really wanted to know was whether or not it had the heat pump — and it did. “Well, here it is, folks, in all of its glory. The fabled heat pump is actually indeed here on the Model 3. I would suspect it’s probably exactly the same part number as the Model Y.” Behind the heat pump is Tesla’s Octovalve, but for obvious reasons, Trevor wasn’t able to pull it out and show it. “Definitely confirmed. The heat pump is here.”
One thing Trevor would love to do is conduct an efficiency test on this Model 3, but he didn’t have another Standard Range Plus. “Maybe in the future we’ll do a video and show you,” he said in the video. He also told me in a message on Twitter that he would try to do the efficiency test soon to try to see how it stacks up. Regarding the talks online about the headlights being different, he’s not really able to see any difference in the newer Model 3’s headlights. “I can’t see any differences. It really looks the same. The ones they are talking about, I believe, are for the European cars. So, if you’re expecting a car in North America to look any different, I don’t think you’re going to see any changes in the headlights.”
The one thing Trevor said that everyone has been asking about was the Model 3 power liftgate. He noted that he has one on his Model 3 that is a third-party unit. “The main difference is the power actuator is actually on one side. On mine, it’s actually on both.” He also pointed out that you can adjust the height of the power liftgate. He says it easily closes with the press of a button.
Another major change Trevor looked at was the double-paned glass windows. The glass is double-layered in the front, but it isn’t present on the rear passenger windows. The double-paned glass windows are there to help with sound, making the car quieter. However, note that another early reviewer of the new Model 3 compared to a 2018 version thinks that the extra sound of the heat pump cancels out the benefit from the double-paned glass windows.
An additional change that hasn’t been noticed by other Tesla owners looking at the new version of the Model 3 is the seat controls. Trevor pointed out that these have changed slightly. “You’ve got this little silver ring around it — just a little prettier, but otherwise still the same.” The window controls are no longer gloss black, either. “Tesla finally listened to us,” he said with a laugh. “You’ve got this nice, matte black finish that’s very, very attractive.”
Trevor also explored the new wireless phone charger and was able to charge his new iPhone 12 ProMax, which is the largest phone Apple makes. He noted that, unlike the Jeda Pad, there is no horizontal charging, but it will still easily charge two phones. As for the heated steering wheel, this particular model didn’t have that. “If you want that, you’re going to have to splurge and buy yourself an S or an X.”
As with the 2021 Tesla Model 3s that were shipped to Hong Kong, the North American 2021 Model 3s also have the complimentary USB drives for the new port in the glove compartment. One thing I did notice in Trevor’s video was that the USB drive that Tesla provided had some type of design at the end — almost curved — which I thought was unique. Out of curiosity, I revisited the video from Driving UPCar and looked closely at the USB drive in that video and, sure enough, I could barely see that there was either a curve or a unique design that isn’t really common in most USB drives. It may be a small thing, but this attention to design is one thing Tesla is known for across its products and branding. It reminds me of Tesla’s essence — putting attention and love into everything it can.
All images above are screenshots of Trevor’s video.