It is only early October, but Tesla has already started manufacturing their 2021 model year vehicles.
Tesla doesn’t prescribe to the typical model year framework adopted by legacy auto manufacturers. Instead they make continuous improvements to their vehicles whenever they can. There have been numerous examples of this recently, like the new design for the Model 3 frunk tub which is rumoured to have been introduced to soon add the heat pump from the Model Y.
Even though they don’t follow it, Tesla still has to assign model years to their vehicles, and the latest VINs coming out of Fremont show the automaker has shifted to 2021 production.
A Drive Tesla reader sent us their Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA) for their newly ordered Tesla and not only does it show as being a “2021” Model Y, the VIN is also showing the new ‘M’ code for the new model year.
It appears as though the Model Y isn’t the only one to now have the 2021 designation, as a soon-to-be Model X owner on the TMC forums also reports receiving a VIN with the ‘M’ model year.
UPDATE: After seeing our reporting on the factory black trim now in production on the Model 3, @WholeMarsBlog found a new Model 3 at Fremont, and it’s VIN also had the M for the 2021 model year.
New process, eh? pic.twitter.com/jRUuCWDt1K
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) October 9, 2020
Why such an early change to 2021?
The switch to 2021 production is at least a month sooner than the changeover last year to 202o production.
We have yet to see a report of a Model 3 owner with a 2021 designation, but the timing does line up to everything we have heard about some major changes coming to the electric sedan.
Just after the introduction of the new frunk design, Drive Tesla reported exclusively that new headlights and a power trunk would soon be coming to the Model 3. That was backed up recently by a rumour out of China that the Model 3 was going to get a lot more than just those two upgrades. The suspected timing for those upgrades to enter production was early October.
That timeline was further supported by changes to the Model 3 Parts Catalog showing a new Cabin HVAC system for vehicles made “after October 5.”
If you have a Model 3 on order and have either the VIN or your MVPA showing it as being a 2021 model year, let us know in the comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.