Some new Tesla owners in the U.S. have reported that they received a refreshed 2021 Model 3 with a heated steering wheel. Will every Model 3 reservation-holder be so lucky?

Tesla claims it doesn't refresh or redesign its vehicles, at least not traditionally. So, when a major update comes along, it's hard to know what you might get.

In other words, with a "traditional" car, at least in most cases, you will know exactly what features you're getting based on the car's model year. Features change with each new model year, but not necessarily in mid-stream, though there are exceptions.

Most of Tesla's updates come via over-the-air software downloads, so all cars eventually get the update. This is a huge advantage over legacy automakers since every Tesla owner benefits from feature updates for the life of the car. However, when Tesla makes changes to hardware, some reservation-holders could get a car with the new hardware while others could get a previous build.

In other cases, a car could be delivered with the new hardware, but need a software update to activate it. We saw this earlier with Tesla's heated seats. The cars were equipped with the hardware to heat the seats, but the software update to actually "turn on" the feature came later.

With that said, some reports say the refreshed 2021 Tesla Model 3 has a heated steering wheel. According to a report by Teslarati, "some" of the refreshed cars have the heated steering wheel. Apparently, this seems to be a way of saying some refreshed cars don't have it, which seems strange.

Last year, popular amateur Tesla hacker @greentheonly discovered the potential for the heated steering wheel, among other features. However, there has been continued speculation over the feature. Now, some new Tesla owners have started reporting that they took delivery of a Model 3, and it has the heated steering wheel. Other owners have reported that their refreshed Model 3 does not have the feature. 


Hopefully, as time goes on, all 2021 Model 3 sedans will come standard with a heated steering wheel. For now, we suggest asking the right question when you order your Model 3, as well as when you take delivery.

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