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Electric Vehicle information for Atlanta and Georgia

Tesla Model S / X / 3 information

Sections below:
– Tesla basics
– used Tesla details
– suggestions for new owners

Tesla basics

You can get basic information about Tesla cars pretty much everywhere else on the internet. Come here for used information …

Used Tesla details

Tesla models have now been on the market since 2012, long enough that you can easily find them used. Used EVs tend to be bargain in general, because A) they don’t really wear out like gas-engine cars do, and B) their prices are depressed by the ever-improving capabilities of the newest cars on the market.

When looking for a used Tesla (or any used car, for that matter), one problem is that it can be difficult figuring out exactly which options the car is equipped with. The seller may have provided insufficient photos, or some features can only be discerned from photos if you know exactly what to look for.

For Teslas, though, it gets more complex, because Tesla doesn’t stick to a “model year” schedule of annual upgrades. Other carmakers make upgrades to their models once a year, but Tesla makes upgrades on the fly when they are ready. The timeline below is useful for determining what features a particular Tesla does or doesn’t have. When evaluating a specific Tesla, you need to find out exactly when it was assembled (not when they bought it). You can find the production month and year by looking at the label on the driver’s door frame (ask the seller for a picture of it) and via a VIN decoder.

Here are the highlights of major production changes in Tesla models.

Jun 2012: Model S launches
– ships with earliest “A” and “B” batteries, believed to be limited to 90 kW and 120 kW charging, respectively
– ships with “MCU1″, first gen media control unit that drives the large center screen

Sep 2012: first Supercharging stations unveiled, offering 90 kW DC fast charging (“V1″ stations), which then was quickly upgraded to 120 kW (“V2″ stations)

Oct 2013: Model S starts shipping with “D” battery, capable of 150 kW charging (stations to support that would not come out until 2019)

Oct 2014: Model S starts shipping with “Hardware 1″, consisting of:
– a single camera mounted at the top of the windshield
– forward looking radar in the lower grille, supplied by Bosch
– ultrasonic acoustic location sensors in the front and rear bumpers that provide a 360-degree obstruction sensing around the car
– computer based on Mobileye EyeQ3 processor
– a HW1 car cannot be upgraded to a HW2 car

Nov 2014: Model S starts shipping with “E” battery; benefit not known but may be longer life

Sep 2015: Model X launches

Apr 2016: Model S starts shipping with new front fascia, replacing the old “nose cone” design in place since the 2012 launch, and matching the Model X design.

Nov 2016: Models S and X start shipping with “Hardware 2″, consisting of:
– eight surround cameras
– forward-facing radar with upgraded processing capabilities
– 12 ultrasonic sensors
– computer based on Nvidia Drive PX 2 GPU for CUDA based GPGPU computation
– a HW2 car can have its processor upgraded later, but not the sensors (e.g. cameras)

July 2017: Model 3 launches

Aug 2017: Models S, X and 3 start shipping with “Hardware 2.5″, same as HW2 above except adds:
– additional GPU processor “node” enabled
– wiring redundancy
– note that Model 3 was launched with HW 2.5

August 2017: Dashcam is only available for Model S and Model X cars manufactured after August 2017, and all Model 3 cars.

Late Dec 2017: Teslas start shipping with a new Gen2 Universal Mobile Connector (UMC), the cordset that allows you to plug into outlets at home. The Gen2 offers 32 Amps vs the Gen1’s 40 Amps. Subsequently Tesla also stopped bundling the adapter necessary to plug into NEMA 14-50 (240V) outlets; the UMC now comes only with the adapter for NEMA 5-15 (120V) outlets. More here.

March 2018: Model S and X start shipping with upgraded media control unit MCU2 (that drives the large center screen) with much faster computing hardware than the old hardware used since launch in 2012. Two years later, in March 2020, Tesla finally started offering an upgrade path for MCU1 owners, who had long complained of sluggish performance. However be aware that this upgrade does not include a radio tuner; if you like AM/FM/XM radio, then you will need to upgrade that too. More info about the Tesla MCU systems can be found here: https://teslatap.com/mcu/

March 2019: Models S and X nomenclature removes kWh-size numbering (60, 85, 100, etc.)

March 2019: new “V3″ Supercharging stations unveiled, offering 250 kW DC fast charging without power sharing like V1/V2 stations; see the supercharging explainer at TeslaTap for more details

Spring 2019: Model S and X cars no longer offer higher-power Level 2 charging, offering only the standard 32/40 Amp charging. Prior to now, there was an option to order the car equipped with 64/80 Amp charging. The only way to use this higher power was to plug into a high power HPWC or J1772 station, which were rare.

March-April 2019: Models S and X (~20-Mar) and Model 3 (~12-Apr) cars start shipping with “Hardware 3″, same as HW2 above except adds a custom Tesla-designed processor, claimed to be 10 times more powerful than Hardware 2.5. Tesla says HW2 and HW2.5 cars will be upgradable to HW3, by swapping out the processor board; customers who purchased the Full Self-Driving (FSD) package will be eligible for upgrade to HW3 without cost. In Sept 2019, Tesla started those free upgrades on Model S and X vehicles that had the FSD package, and in Jan 2020 started upgrading the Model 3 cars. Pricing for upgrade of vehicles without the FSD option has not been announced.

April 2019: Models S and X (not Model 3) start shipping with the “Raven” configuration, which offers:
– improved, more efficient drivetrain (meaning longer range from same battery)
– upgraded air suspension system with adaptive damping