As Tesla expands its business and produces electric vehicles in more and more places around the world, questions arise about where a particular vehicle comes from.

It might be especially interesting for us, as some of the models, like the Tesla Model Y, are produced at four plants simultaneously.

And here comes the NHTSA's Model Year VIN Decoder for Tesla to the rescue, which explains the meaning of the VIN code digits/letters in the United States. Additionally, the VIN reveals the specific version of a vehicle.

The first three digits (out of the 17-digit long VIN number) in the case of Teslas are "5YJ".

The vehicle can be identified by digit 4:

  • 3 = Tesla Model 3
  • S = Tesla Model S
  • X = Tesla Model X
  • Y = Tesla Model Y
  • C = Cybertruck
  • T = Tesla Semi

Then we have a different template for cars and heavy vehicles (Semi and Cybertruck).

Cars (Model 3, Model S, Model X and Model Y)

The model year can be identified by digit 10. If a car is from the 2023 model year, then there will be a P:

  • 2022 model year: N
  • 2023 model year: P
  • 2024 model year: R

A major thing is the origin. The plant that manufactures the vehicle is identified by digit 11 and in the US it can be:

  • A = Austin, Texas
  • F = Fremont, California
  • N = Reno, Nevada (for Tesla Semi)

Additionally, we see other letters if a vehicle is produced in Europe or in China.

  • B = Berlin, Germany
  • C = Shanghai, China

Another important thing is digit 8, which indicates the motor/drive unit:

  • Digit 8: Motor/Drive Unit
    5 = P2 Dual Motor (Designated for Model S & Model X)
    6 = P2 Tri Motor (Designated for Model S & Model X)
    A = Single Motor – Standard / Performance (Designated for Model 3)
    B = Dual Motor – Standard (Designated for Model 3)
    C = Dual Motor – Performance (Designated for Model 3)
    D = Single Motor – Standard / Performance (Designated for Model Y)
    E = Dual Motor – Standard (Designated for Model Y)
    F = Dual Motor – Performance (Designated for Model Y)

An interesting thing (for the 2024 model year) is digit 7 for fuel type, which besides "E" for electric, also includes "F" now for when a vehicle has an LFP battery. As we understand, vehicles with "E" are all the other types of batteries other than LFP so NCA or NCM types.

  • Digit 7: Fuel Type
    E = Electric
    F = Electric - Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery

Tesla Semi and Cybertruck

The Tesla Semi emerged in the VIN decoder in the 2023 model year, and recently, in the 2024 model year decoder, it was joined by the Tesla Cybertruck.

The most interesting things here are weight ratings and powertrain versions. Just one for the Tesla Semi but two for the Tesla Cybertruck.

Digit 6: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

  • Tesla Semi:
    E = Class 8 – Greater than 14968 kg. (33,001 lbs. and over)
  • Tesla Cybertruck:
    G = Class G – Greater than 3629 kg. to 4082 kg. (8,001-9,000 lbs.)
    H = Class H – Greater than 4082 kg. to 4536 kg. (9,001-10,000 lbs.)

Digit 8: Motor/Drive Unit/Braking System

  • Tesla Semi:
    B = Dual Drive Rear Axle, Air Brakes (Designated for Semi)
  • Tesla Cybertruck:
    D = Dual Motor – Standard (Designated for Cybertruck)
    E = Triple Motor – Performance (Designated for Cybertruck)

In the future, with new manufacturing sites (a plant in Mexico was recently announced) and additional models, the VIN decoder is expected to become even more complex.

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