Refreshed Tesla Model 3 Reportedly About To Begin Production Upgrades

Ever since Tesla's four-door fastback sedan entered production in 2017, it has been breaking sales records for Tesla. Starting in 2018, the Model 3 has remained the most popular electric car in several countries — including the U.S. In March of 2020, the Model 3 became the most-sold electric car in history — a position it continues to hold in 2023.

A major reason for the Model 3's popularity was the fact that it was Tesla's most affordable offering, and was designed to be a practical, everyday car. Despite being relatively affordable, the car was loaded with features like a built-in dash cam, the ability to remotely control the car using an app, and support for OTA updates. The vehicle also scored well on the safety front and received a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

While the Model 3 has been a game changer for Tesla, there is no denying that the model is showing signs of age. Tesla has been facing competition from traditional carmakers and new EV upstarts like Polestar and BYD, all of which have compelling electric car options. Given that Tesla has also been gradually losing market share to competition in some countries, the company seems to be finally responding by launching a revamped version of the Model 3 later this year.

According to a Bloomberg report, the impending refresh has Tesla upgrading its massive manufacturing facility in Shanghai. To do this, however, parts of the manufacturing plant will remain shut for a brief period of time.

Tesla Model 3 production facility upgrade underway for months

The Bloomberg report cites an anonymous source who has confirmed that the planned partial shutdown of the Shanghai plant is expected to commence on February 19, 2023. The source claims that the Tesla plant in Shanghai — which exclusively makes the Model 3 and Model Y cars — has two phases for vehicle manufacturing.

The partial shutdown scheduled for Sunday will affect workers involved with Phase 1. The source also adds that Tesla has been gradually upgrading its production facility in Shanghai for well over two months now. However, it is not clear at this moment how long the planned shutdown is expected to last. Tesla also remains tight-lipped on the possible effects of the shutdown on vehicle availability.

Even a partial shutdown at Tesla's Shanghai factory is big news for the company, given that the factory accounted for nearly half of the 1.37 million Tesla EVs sold in 2022.

The Shanghai factory is also notable for being Tesla's first production facility outside the United States. The massive plant can already make more than one million vehicles a year, and has primarily catered to the Chinese EV space, which has accounted for more than 6.5 million new energy passenger vehicles in 2022. With the Chinese EV space expected to grow by 30% in 2023, it is vital for Tesla to complete the plant upgrade quickly.