Why only 460hp for non-US models?


Why only 460hp for non-US models?

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The Tesla Model 3 Performance is finally official and it is the brand’s highest-spec variant for its newly upgraded fully electric sedan. Malaysians can start placing their orders for the EV and local deliveries are estimated to start sometime in Q2 2024.

When the Model 3 Performance was first revealed, the US website boasted 510hp of peak power and a 0-60mph time of 2.9 seconds, up to a top speed of 163mph (about 262km/h). The Model 3 Performance is priced from USD 52,990 in the US, excluding the USD 7,500 federal tax credit.

For Malaysia, the Tesla Model 3 Performance is priced from RM242,000, which is remarkably cheaper than the US despite the current foreign exchange rate. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll find that the performance and range figures a drastically different.

Model 3 Performance made outside the US has less power

On the Malaysian website, the Tesla Model 3 Performance is advertised to have 460hp of peak power which is 50hp less than the US market. The 0-100km/h time is slightly longer at 3.1 seconds versus the US’ 0-60mph (0-97km/h) of 2.9 seconds. Take note that these acceleration figures are listed with rollout subtracted.

If you check on other global sites such as China, Australia, Singapore and the UK, they all list a peak power of 460hp as well.

Although the power figures are lower than the US, the range for non-US units is higher with a WLTP-rated range of 528km versus the US’ estimated 296 miles (about 476km). In China, the Model 3 Performance is advertised with a more lenient CLTC-rated range of 623km.

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Tesla uses different battery configurations for different markets

So what’s going on here? Is Tesla following some smartphone brands which sometimes use different processors (Qualcomm vs Exynos) for different markets?

According to Tesla Newswire, the company is using different batteries for Model 3 Performance products in Fremont and Shanghai. In the US, the Fremont-produced units use larger 82kWh Panasonic batteries while units made in Tesla’s Shanghai plant use 79kWh LG batteries.

As a result, the different battery configuration affects the Model 3 Performance’s output power with the US market having 510hp and 741Nm. Meanwhile, the China units which are responsible for all RHD models worldwide are only pushing 460hp and 723Nm of torque. Despite the peak power differences, the Model 3 Performance outside of Malaysia still maxes out at 262km/h and the 0-100km/h is pretty much the same.

Based on the spec sheet, it does seem that the China units with lower power output offer superior range despite having a 3kWh less battery capacity. If you had a choice, which would you pick? The version with 50 more hp or the version with more range? Let us know in the comments below.

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