Tesla is getting faster with its Hardware 3 retrofits

(Credit: Tesla Joy/Twitter)

It appears that Tesla is getting faster with its Hardware 3 retrofits, with recent reports from the electric car community suggesting that the upgrade could now take as short as a few hours. This suggests a notable improvement in the turnaround times for HW3 upgrades, especially since previous anecdotes from Tesla owners indicated that the process could take as long as a few days.

Elon Musk has noted that Hardware 3 retrofits will be available for electric cars equipped with HW2 and HW2.5, and whose owners purchased the company’s Full Self-Driving suite. The CEO has also mentioned in the past that retrofits should not take too long, and that Tesla’s mobile service fleet should be able to accomplish the upgrade without any difficulties. 

Initial accounts of Hardware 3 retrofits suggested that this was indeed the case. A Tesla Model X P100D owner who runs the Electric Dreams YouTube channel reported back in December that his HW3 retrofit only took a few hours, thanks to a member of Tesla’s Mobile Service team coming over to his home to perform the upgrade. In the case of the Model X owner, the mobile service technician started the retrofit in the morning and completed the upgrade by night. 

As Tesla started ramping its Hardware 3 retrofits, it quickly became evident that not all owners will experience the same convenience as related by the Electric Dreams host. Tesla Model 3 owner and enthusiast Tesla Joy, for example, noted that her vehicle’s upgrade ended up taking over five days. This was highly inconvenient, particularly as it resulted in the Model 3 being stuck in the Service Center during New Year’s. 

Similar complaints from fellow Model 3 owners suggested that Joy’s experience was not an isolated case. Fellow Model 3 owner Greg Wester, for one, claimed that his Service Center advised him that his HW3 retrofit will take a whole week to complete because of the “disassembly and troubleshooting” that will be involved. Similar to Joy, Wester was given Uber vouchers due to the absence of loaner vehicles. 

More recent reports from Tesla owners suggest that Hardware 3 retrofits are now far quicker and more efficient. Tesla owner-enthusiast Tesla Raj recently shared that his Model 3, which was dropped off at a Service Center at 8:30 am, will be fully upgraded by 3:30 pm on the same day. Other Tesla owners commenting on Raj’s tweet shared similar stories, with some stating that their retrofits were also completed within the same day. Even vehicles that had to be left overnight for the retrofit were ready to get back on the road the following day. 

Overall, it appears that Tesla is now at a point where its HW3 retrofit process is getting quicker turnaround times. Recent anecdotes from electric car enthusiast @stillstainless noted that the Tesla Lynnwood WA Service Center was actually able to complete a HW3 upgrade in just 2 hours 20 minutes. During this time, the vehicle’s owner reportedly just opted to wait, instead of acquiring a loaner vehicle. 

Elon Musk has suggesting in the past that the HW3 retrofit will be a quick, simple process that could be performed by mobile service technicians without any issue. Based on the most recent reports from the Tesla community, it appears that the electric car maker is getting closer to Elon Musk’s estimates. This bodes well for Tesla’s push into the autonomous driving market, especially since Hardware 3 is an important part of the full self-driving puzzle that the company is trying to solve.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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