First Look at the Refreshed Model Y in China Reveals Ambient Lighting, No HW4

Tesla quietly introduced a slightly rejuvenated Model Y in China, borrowing features and parts from the Model 3 Highland. One Tesla insider was able to analyze the refreshed crossover and discover the new features firsthand. Among them are a new rear motor, the revamped cabin with ambient lighting, and the startling revelation that there's no Hardware 4 yet.
Refreshed Tesla Model Y in China 13 photos
Photo: @xiaoteshushu via X
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Tesla surprised everyone on October 1 when it launched a mildly refreshed Model Y in China. Based on the rumors at the time, the new model came with a cabin that borrowed heavily from the Model 3 Highland, including the ambient lighting and the upgraded Autopilot computer and sensors that we know as Hardware 4. The refreshed Model Y is already in production at Giga Shanghai, and somebody has got his hands on one unit.

Tesla insider @xiaoteshushu, known for many Highland leaks in the past months, is the lucky guy who took the refreshed Model Y RWD for a spin. After spending some time with the car in a parking lot, he learned interesting things. The most obvious and also disappointing was that the refreshed Model Y doesn't come with Hardware 4 sensors. The old-style repeater cameras immediately reveal this. To dispel any doubt, @xiaoteshushu activated the camera and confirmed the image had the well-known yellowish tint.

Disappointment aside, we can appreciate the visual boost the new dashboard and door covers bring to the Model Y's cabin. You can check out the new ambient lighting in the video attached below, including the corresponding setup screen. As you can see, the ambient lighting is RGB, and you can select almost any color from the palette on the infotainment screen. This brings up another disappointment, as it's not the larger 15.4-inch of the Model 3 Highland, but still the old 15-inch display.

Refreshed Tesla Model Y in China
Photo: @xiaoteshushu via X
The leakster wasn't shy about invading the Model Y's privacy, and the many pictures posted on X are a testament to that. We get to see the new dark 19-inch wheel rims that replace the current silver Gemini set and many details throughout the cabin. We also get a picture of the manufacturer's label, revealing that this car was fresh from the production line, being built in October.

The comparison with a July 2023 Model Y label reveals interesting differences. Although the refreshed model has the same battery pack and weight, it features a new drive unit. This has the 3D6 code and more power, at 220 kW versus 194 kW before. A little research reveals that this unit is identical to the rear unit in the Tesla Model Y Performance, which also outputs 220 kW.

Although minor, the updates on the Chinese Model Y are welcome nonetheless. They also make sense from Tesla's point of view, as sharing parts across the two models built at Giga Shanghai improves manufacturing efficiency. The fact that the Model 3 Highland features HW4 means that Tesla will probably install the upgraded hardware in the Model Y soon. After all, dealing with many variations of the same product is a logistics nightmare, and Tesla wants to avoid that.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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