Tesla Model 3 and Model Y to have faster processors, 12v li-ion battery and more

By Nuno Cristovao

New Tesla Model Y Performance models coming out of China this month have the biggest changes we've seen to the car so far. The cars have several major hardware changes that improve the infotainment system, noise isolated and more.

Tesla starts using 12v lithium-ion batteries
Tesla starts using 12v lithium-ion batteries
JayinShanghai/Twitter

Infotainment Processor

The first major upgrade is the processor that powers the car's infotainment display. It has been upgraded from the Intel Atom processor to a much faster AMD Ryzen chip. It's the same chip that's used in the redesigned Model S and X, although the Model S and X feature 16GB of ram while these new Model Ys appear to have only 8GB.

This processor is much faster than the Atom processors that are currently in Model 3s and Model Ys.

Graphics Processor

The new Model S and X feature a dedicated GPU that is capable of PS5-like graphics. The system is able to play one of the most intensive video games, Cyberpunk 2077.

We thought that this chip would be exclusive to Tesla's higher-priced vehicles, but surprisingly, the new Model Ys feature the same graphics processor in the new Model S and X.

It appears that Tesla plans to keep the infotainment and graphic processors the same across their entire lineup of cars. Having such an advanced processor will surely open up the possibilities to new games and enhanced capabilities in the car.

MCU 3

When the Model S was unveiled, it contained this new processor and high-end gaming capabilities. At the time, no one was sure whether this hardware would be exclusive to the Model S or whether it would trickle down to other vehicles.

However, at this point it's fairly certain that the AMD Ryzen chip and graphics processor Tesla is using will be a part of Tesla's MCU 3 and will be used across their entire fleet.

Software

Although the new Model Ys coming out of China contain the same CPU and GPU processors as the new Model S, they still feature the same 15" screen as other Model Ys. They also still use the same user-interface as all current Model Ys, although they're certainly capable of running the same Tesla interface in the new Model S.

It's not clear whether the new interface is still being adapted for slightly smaller screens, but we expect that these new Model Ys with MCU 3 will be running the updated Tesla interface in the future.

We don't know if vehicles with MCU 2 will be able to run the updated interface at some point. Tesla employees have previously said off the record that MCU 2 isn't capable of running the new interface found on the new Model S, but it's possible that Tesla figured out a way to run the new interface on MCU 2 vehicles. If the new interface comes to MCU 2 cars, it'll likely need to be adapted to be able to run on slower hardware or limit some of its features, such as dragging and docking windows.

12v Battery

All Teslas up until the release of the redesigned Model S and Model X used 12v lead-acid batteries. This lower voltage battery is used to power door locks, electronics and other smaller items in the car that can't be run off of the high voltage battery.

The 12v lead-acid batteries in Model 3 and Model Ys are the same kind found in just about every other car. The battery is recharged off of the car's main battery. These lead-acid batteries last about four to five years, but we've seen them last only a couple years as well.

With the new Model S, Tesla switched to a lithium-ion based battery that is much lighter and lasts much longer than lead-acid batteries.

These new Model Ys coming out of GIGA Shanghai are coming with the same lithium-ion battery that is found in new Model S and X vehicles.

The battery is estimated to last the life of the vehicle and never needs replacing. This is a nice improvement and it's a great way for Tesla to reduce Tesla service visits.

It also helps increase customer satisfaction and lower the maintenance required for Teslas even further.

Although replacing a lead-acid battery in a vehicle isn't an expensive procedure, having a lithium-ion battery that doesn't need to be replaced is a nice improvement for all future Tesla owners.

It'll be interesting to see whether Tesla will be able to upgrade lead-acid batteries to their lithium-ion models in future service calls for any customers that need one replaced.

Other Changes

Another change that has been noticed in these new models is that the rear passengers windows now have double laminated glass similar to the front windows, to help further isolate road noise.

It's possible that there are other smaller changes in these new models as well, but these have been the major changes observed so far.

These hardware changes are currently exclusive to new Model Y Performance models coming out of China. Tesla slowly makes changes to its lineup throughout the year when possible, but the changes we're seeing here are major improvements to the vehicle.

You can be sure that all Tesla factories will adopt the same hardware changes we're seeing in China across all models in the coming weeks or months.

There has now been a video posted that compares how much faster MCU 3 is compared to MCU 2 when loading various apps.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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