Tesla has quietly released a 2021 Model X with a higher range rating, sooner than expected.
A new Model X owner has reported receiving a VIN with a 2021 model year designation. The corresponding Monroney sticker reveals that the 2021 Model X has undergone EPA testing, and received a range rating of 371 miles — an increase of 20 miles compared to the currently-advertised 351 miles.
It is unclear whether this is a change enabled by new battery cell technology, hardware revisions, or a culmination of software updates that ultimately achieved better efficiency.
Tesla had renamed the base models of Model S and X to Long Range Plus earlier this year so that they could be re-tested by the EPA for a higher range rating, so Tesla may have released a 2021 Model X earlier than usual for the same reason.
No other changes have been reported, unlike Model 3 which is expected to receive its most significant refresh since the vehicle launched four years ago with the release of a 2021 model.
Tesla seems to be moving away from using a model year designation that corresponds to the vehicle’s production year towards a more traditional model where vehicles are refreshed within the final quarter of the year.
In our opinion this is a welcome change as it levels the playing field for Tesla compared to other automakers, who also release a new model year prior to its corresponding calendar year. In fact, we think Tesla should take advantage of this strategy to offer more significant upgrades and range improvements.
At the same time, Tesla should be more transparent on its site about new features and upgrades. While consumers should be happy to receive a 2021 vehicle with more range than expected, it can become a fragmented experience if prospective owners have no way to tell if they’ll be taking delivery of a 2020 or 2021 model — especially if there are hardware changes that contribute to the improved range.
Customers that want to be sure that they’ll receive a 2021 Model X (or Model 3) should wait for Tesla to formally update its site before placing an order.
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