Tesla Upgrades: Will Model 3 Performance Get Faster?

Tesla Upgrades: Will Model 3 Performance Get Faster?

In the past, Tesla has released multiple upgrades to their car models. The Model 3 is no different, having received numerous firmware updates over the years that can increase speed, range, and security. With the advancements that have already been released, questions for future upgrades abound.

Tesla released a free over-the-air upgrade that made the Model 3 faster in October 2020. A new update is unlikely to come soon, however options for increasing the speed still exist. Future software upgrades are likely.

It is hard to pinpoint when the next one might happen, but Tesla has a proven track record of releasing exciting updates for all of their cars. Those interested in a speed boost or general upgrade in the Model 3 should keep reading for more details.

How Tesla Upgrades Work

Tesla’s approach to car longevity is unique in the industry. The company heavily relies on what they call “over-the-air” software updates, where firmware updates are downloaded through Wi-Fi or another connection.

Tesla upgrades do not require the car to be brought into a dealership or any additional work; they can be downloaded and applied in the comfort of a driveway or garage. This is a massive benefit for usability and ease of access that only Tesla can really tout.

Additionally, the updates are not just minor changes that update the UI of the car or affect the software. These over-the-air upgrades can have massive effects on the performance of the vehicle, such as:

  • Increasing acceleration
  • Raising range
  • Introducing new safety upgrades

Of course, minor updates can also be sent, such as one that allowed owners of the Model X to sync their car to Christmas music. Upgrades are applied in a revolutionary way that allows everyone who owns a Tesla, Model 3 or otherwise, to immediately be told about an update and have the option to download it at their leisure.

Owners of the Model 3 interested in ensuring that their car is on the most updated software available can check out Tesla’s official Software Updates page for more.

Previous Model 3 Software Upgrades

Tesla has released two firmware updates in the last few years that increased the acceleration of the Model 3. Between the models of the car, the Model 3 Long Range selection saw the most considerable boost.

The first significant upgrade to Model 3 acceleration was released in November of 2019 and promised a 5% increase in power and delivery. The Model 3 Long Range package was initially released with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds; this update decreased to an average of 4.0 seconds. The better acceleration and speed also translated to longer distances as well.

This major update to the speed of the Model 3 Long Range package was free. While future updates that increase the speed are not, it is a sign that it is a possibility in the future.

The acceleration increase brings the Model 3 Long Range package closer to those of the Model 3 Performance, which accelerates from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds after the firmware upgrade. While the effects can be noticed with either model, the Long Range is more noticeable.

A year later, in October of 2020, Tesla released an optional $2000 upgrade that promised to increase the speed even further by up to half a second, bringing times down closer to 3.7 seconds.

While these updates have been fantastic for adding power and fun to the Model 3, there is little reason to imagine that they are the end. Tesla is continuously improving its performance and efficiency, and the Model 3 shows no signs of slowing down in popularity. Given how easy it is to push out an update, more can be expected – just probably not in the next few months. 

Sources: Car and Driver, Tesmanian

How Fast Are Different Model 3s?

The Tesla Model 3 is already a speedy car compared to most mid-sized sedans or other electric vehicles. Before any updates on a base model, the vehicle is listed as having 425 horsepower. Tesla’s various upgrades bring that number higher thanks to improved efficiency and acceleration.

To compare that to other cars of a similar build, the average Honda Civic or Toyota Camry sits around 200 horsepower. While similar in size, these cars are much lighter and cheaper than a Tesla but still suffer compared to their performance.

Simply put, the Tesla Model 3 is a blend between luxury and traditional sedan. The difference between the Model 3 and other similar cars is most noticeable in its performance and speed. These differences can also be noticed between the various packages that the Model 3 is available in. There are three:

  • Base Model
  • Long Range Model
  • Performance Model

As expected with car trims, each level costs more than the last and includes additional features and upgrades. Acceleration is no different, with the performance Model 3 clocking in much quicker than the others for a significant price hike.

For the speeds listed, the cars are assumed to be on the most recent firmware update without the optional $2000 boost. If that is installed, expect most speeds to increase by about one-half of a second.

Base Model Speed and Acceleration

The base Model 3 is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle that still includes a significant number of bells and whistles but has a significantly slower acceleration than the other models available. While still a fast car, it will feel less punchy, especially when first hitting the road than some other available options.

The base Model 3, called the Standard Range Plus, accelerates from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds. While still a rapid time for most average drivers, this is significantly slower than the times posted by the long-range and performance models, which both clock in under 4 seconds.

The rear-wheel drivetrain on the base model is also a noticeable difference. This means that power and control are only sent to the rear wheels of the car. At a basic level, this means it handles differently around curves and loses some power efficiency when accelerating. This is likely a big reason why the 0-60 time is much slower.

Long Range Model Speed and Acceleration

The Long Range Model 3’s main benefit is, as the name suggests, a longer driving range. While a great feature for peace of mind, this has little to no bearing on the trim’s acceleration and speed numbers. Instead, this model is quicker thanks to a few different reasons:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Dual motor
  • Optimization

The dual-motor design of the Long Range trim (as well as the performance model) means that power is more evenly distributed throughout the Tesla for acceleration and speed.

This ties in directly to the car’s all-wheel-drive, as one motor sits on top of each set of wheels. This increase in power delivery also combines with more optimized firmware that brings the Long Range trim acceleration rate to 4.2 seconds, over a full second quicker than the base model.

Performance Model Speed and Acceleration

Tesla’s performance package on the Model 3 is the top of the line for this car. It features all of the possible upgrades and once again features a dual-motor all-wheel drivetrain that allows the vehicle to accelerate quickly and maintain speed effortlessly.

The Tesla Model 3 Performance package accelerates from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. This is an incredibly fast time compared to almost any street car, making the performance package promise an enjoyable drive for those looking for the best.

This is a noticeable increase in acceleration when compared to either of the other available Model 3 packages. While the upgrade does cost a considerable bit more, around $10,000 more than the long-range trim, some enthusiasts may consider the upgrade worth it.

For those looking to compare other aspects of the trim levels and recheck the numbers, Tesla’s website allows for customization and comparison.


The Tesla Model 3 is an incredibly fast car that has received updates that increase its performance in the past. These updates are available over-the-air, meaning that they can just be downloaded while the vehicle is connected to the internet and immediately applied. Tesla upgrades are some of the easiest to get in the car industry.

Another major factor in the speed of Model 3s is the model being tested, as times can vary up to almost 2 seconds between the base and highest trim models. All models can be improved by additional firmware updates, and there is no reason to believe others will not be coming.

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The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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