With Project Highland on the horizon, many thought the Model 3 LR AWD would not return for the current model year. And yet, Tesla kept its promise and re-launched the Model 3 Long Range AWD in the US. The pictures in the Design Studio confirm this is the same car as the current lineup. It has new specifications, though, which left people scratching their heads.
Tesla lists the Model 3 LR AWD with an estimated EPA range of 325+ miles (523 km) for the 18-inch-wheel version, lower than the previous model, which sported a 358-mile (576-km) range. A similar difference is seen for the 19-inch-wheel version, listed now with 310+ miles (498 km) versus 334 miles (537 km) previously. Based on these figures, the "Long Range" name might not be that accurate anymore, considering how close the LR variant is to the Model 3 Performance (315 miles/506 km).
Many have attributed the range drop to a different battery pack, speculating that this could be LFP. The fact that the Model 3 LR AWD is heavier than the Model 3 RWD with the LFP battery adds to this confusion. To further support this theory, the new model only qualifies for half the IRA tax credit ($3,750), the same as Tesla Model 3 RWD. Still, there's also contradicting information, making the new Tesla offering more puzzling.
For instance, the LFP battery pack in the Model 3 RWD is filled up with LFP cells, leaving no space to increase the capacity. The Model 3 LR AWD is slightly lighter than the Model 3 Performance while having pretty much the same hardware, suggesting the battery packs are similar. This also explains why the new model is heavier than the Model 3 RWD, considering the latter only has one drive unit.
With these arguments, we can give more credit to the crowd telling us the new model must be fitted with 2170 battery cells, possibly supplied by LG Chem from China. This would also explain the lower tax credit. Price-wise, the new model slots right in between the Model 3 RWD and the Model 3 Performance, selling at $47,240. Tesla sets its prices in a seemingly bizarre fashion, but if LFP cells were used, the Model 3 LR AWD should've been closer in price to the RWD variant, not the M3P.