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Tesla’s online inventory includes 2021 Model 3s with 4-year-old batteries

For better or worse, Tesla may have invented a kind of car that distinguishes between new and used cars. Its online vehicle inventory lists several 2021 examples of Model 3 equipped with a the battery package was built in 2017 and has degraded accordingly.

Buyers can’t order a near-new EV with an older battery through the company’s online configurator; instead, they need to browse Tesla’s inventory new and old car. Enter a valid zip code, tick the “Model 3” and “new” boxes and you’ll notice that some results come with a warning: “range figures may be up to 12% lower due to battery life “. This only applies to 2021 cars labeled as new; click on the “used” box and there’s no mention of battery deterioration – this certainly doesn’t mean the battery hasn’t lost some of its capacity.

“This vehicle is built with a battery pack manufactured since early 2017. Although the battery pack was brand new when the vehicle was manufactured, the cells have decreased in capacity due to their age and You can expect range to drop by up to 12% from current production specifications,” the company notes. How a vehicle named model year 2021 ends up with a battery pack made in 2017 remains a rather mysterious point.

An explanation given by CD driver is the new-old Model 3 labeled as demo car, which means they can be used for test drives, and Tesla may have installed older batteries in the cars it puts next to its stores. The publication adds that these EVs can also be old engineering test wheels or cars that customers have turned down. Despite that, it looks like Tesla is taking inventory of old, unused batteries.

Tesla’s disclaimer and its definition of the term “brand new” are murky. What is clear is that the package was “brand new” when the car was built. And yet, it was produced “as early as 2017” and fitted with a car titled 2021 model year, so a car may not be produced in 2017. Should we given that “built and stored for a few years” means “all-new” in Tesla-speak, not “new-old-stock”?

Tesla did not comment on the report.

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