Tesla has made two updates to the Model Y, one of which is for cars built at both Fremont and Giga Shanghai, and the other which appears to be exclusive to China.
Model Y Rear Door Emergency Release
The first and more important change is an update to the design of the rear door emergency release. As the name implies, this release is to open the door in emergencies when the car has no power.
Unlike the front doors which have the mechanical release near the window controls, the rear door emergency releases are located in the door pockets. Not only are they in the door pockets, but they are under the rubber mat, and then again under a separate plastic cover that has to be removed. The rubber mat is flat and can be difficult to grab on to (picture 1), and the plastic cover can also be difficult to remove if you are unfamiliar with it (picture 2).
Tesla has now updated the design in two ways to make it much easier to access, even for children.
The first update is to the rubber mat, which now has a large fold in it to make it easier to grab and pull up (picture 1). The second update is to the plastic cover to include a large red tab (picture 2). Testing it out on our October-built Model Y the red tab requires almost no pressure to open. Once it does you can lift it up (it does not come off) and easily access the emergency release (picture 3).
According to information we were able to obtain, the updated emergency release is on all Model Y cars built on or after August 4, 2022. In China the change happened a little later and is on all Model Y cars built on or after September 11, 2022. This new design does not appear in Model Ys built at Giga Texas or Giga Berlin yet, but we expect it to be added soon.
Additionally this change is only applicable to the Model Y so far. We hope this change make its way to the Model 3 as well, but we have yet to receive any information on when that will happen.
Model Y Rear Bench Seat
While the updated emergency release is now in production at both Fremont and Giga Shanghai, Tesla has made one other change to the Model Y built in China.
According to a document from Tesla China, the two window seats of the rear bench have been extended by 30mm. The middle seat has remained the same length.
In the document Tesla says this change came about because of feedback from customers in China wanting improved “ride comfort.” The document says the longer seats will “provide better leg support for rear passengers, reduce fatigue during the ride, and bring a more comfortable ride.” (translated from Chinese)
Tesla doesn’t provide an exact date for when the change took place, except to say that it happened in mid-October. It was also explained that it is applicable for all three variants of the Model Y sold in China.
You can check out a video of the new emergency release below. (note that in the video it says the red tab on the cover is the emergency release, but as we point out above the cover needs to be removed to access the release.)