Not every Tesla produced after April has HW3

Not every Tesla produced after April has HW3

In a Model 3 thread about HW3 and visualizations (, it was reported that after Tesla announced that they had started using HW3 in all vehicles, some vehicles were still being built with HW2.5. This was news to me, and there seems to be enough evidence to support that claim, so I thought it deserved a new thread here in the General forum.

This issue became apparent when Tesla introduced new HW3-specific visualization features, starting with traffic cones, and more recently traffic lights and stop lights. Some people who thought they had HW3 weren't seeing these features, because it turned out they didn't actually have HW3.

Those people affected by this who also purchased FSD will get HW3 anyway, so it's not a huge deal for them. In my opinion, the people who thought they were buying cars with HW3 and got HW2.5 instead should get free upgrades even if they didn't pay for FSD. The new HW3 visualizations benefit even those people without FSD, and it's likely that basic AP gets some benefit from the faster processor.

I'm surprised that this hasn't been publicized more, but I'm guessing not that many people know about it yet.

If you think you have HW3, and you're not seeing the new visualizations in 40.50.x, make sure you've enabled FSD Visualization Preview under Controls > Autopilot before jumping to the conclusion that you don't have HW3. If you don't see that option with 40.50.x, then you probably don't have HW3.

BadgerErickson | 31/12/2019
jrweiss98020 | 31/12/2019


I see the traffic cones, so I think I have HW3 (M3 delivered Sep 2019). I turned on the visualizations, but don't see the lights & signs.

I do not have FSD. Do I need it?

EVRider | 01/01/2020

@Badger: What was your point?

@jrweiss: According to reports from other owners without FSD, you don’t need FSD to see the traffic lights and stop signs. Which software version do you have?

Tesla-David | 01/01/2020

We have a Feb 2018 delivered M3 without HW3, but have Mobile Tesla Ranger scheduled to add it to our M3 on 1/6/20, and looking forward to enabling visualizations.

Yodrak. | 01/01/2020

"What was your point?"

His standard answer to most questions seems to be, RTFM. (I sometimes feel the same way.)

EVRider | 02/01/2020

Nothing in the manual or support site about this topic.

I’m a bit surprised by the lack of comments here. Maybe more people already knew about this than I thought.

SCCRENDO | 02/01/2020

I am taking my Model 3 in for it’s 2 year service in a few weeks. Do they automatically upgrade you at a service | 02/01/2020

@SCCRENDO - From others, it seems hit or miss. They seem to be scheduling HW3 AP retrofits by VIN. It's unclear what order is being used. They may include it with your service visit if one is in stock. Let us know what happens.

Tesla-David | 02/01/2020

@SCCRENDO, I scheduled service to have our M3 updated with HW3, and currently have a Mobile Service Technician coming to our home on 1/6/20 to do that upgrade. I would ask your SVC to that upgrade when you have your M3 in for service. BTW did you get a service notification or are you just doing the 2 year service on your own? Our M3 will be 2 years old next month, and we probably need to schedule servicing as well.

EVRider | 02/01/2020

@SCCRENDO: You'll likely only get HW3 if you car is already on the HW3 list. I don't think the service centers have a stockpile of HW3 units, at least not in my area.

I know I have one coming specifically for my Model S, so I assume they won't install that in someone else's car. I'm not saying there's anything about the CPU that's specific to my car, I just mean it's been assigned to me. Our Model 3 is not yet on the list.

SCCRENDO | 02/01/2020

I scheduled the 2 year service just because it is 2 years. I have just gone out of warranty this weekend at 50000 miles so I want them to address anything latent. I keep my cars for years ( maybe decades) and am a high mileage guys so I am pretty religious about maintenance recommendations. My April 2013 85S is about to hit 170,000 miles.. I guess if if they don't upgrade me to HW3 they will just need to show up to my house.

SCCRENDO | 02/01/2020

How do we find out if we are on the HW3 list

Tesla-David | 02/01/2020

I stand corrected, after checking I now see that the service appointment I had previously scheduled for our M3, requesting HW3 upgrade was cancelled and no longer appearis on our Tesla app for our M3, so we are apparently not in the que for the HWA upgrade yet in line with @EVRider's comments. I would like to know how to find out where we are on the HW3 list as well. We have 2/18 delivered M3 with #45XX vin.

SCCRENDO | 02/01/2020

I have an M3 1/18 delivery vin30xx/ Technically my car is a 2017 so I doubt I have HW3 | 02/01/2020

Some of us have cars with AP2 back in 2016. Every 2016 has MCU1, which the retrofit doesn't yet work with. Tesla engineering is working on it. Not any big deal - the HW3 unique features seem fairly trivial so far. Cool, but not all that useful yet.

EVRider | 02/01/2020

@SCCRENDO: I found out by asking someone at my local service center if either of our cars are on list. Fortunately I'm still able to contact people at my service center via e-mail, unlike many newer owners who have to try to call.

Yodrak. | 25/01/2020

To add a data point to the HW3 update roll-out, I got a text from my Service Center earlier this month telling me that they had received 60 HW3 upgrade kits and my May 2018 Model S was on the list to get one of them. I originally bought the car with Enhanced Auto Pilot and upgraded to Full Self-Driving during the brief period when the upgrade was being sold for $2,000.

rxlawdude | 25/01/2020

Mine was updated on 1/20 - took them till the next day, but they provided an S75D loaner. (I missed my 3!)

I would think @SCC's would be on the list, as our VINS are only separated by around 1,600.

Yodrak. | 25/01/2020

"took them till the next day"

Mine took most of a day, including installing a HEPA air filter and replacing the rear window glass. Your place must have been busier than mine, or you dropped it off in the afternoon rather than mid-morning?

"they provided an S75D loaner"

My wife took our car in for service, she got an older Model S 85 and she was not happy with it - no Auto Pilot, which she's apparently become accustomed to.

SCCRENDO | 25/01/2020

I took my car in for a service this week and forgot to ask. I am assuming it wasn’t done. I guess they will contact me when it is available. Hopefully I can get it done through mobile service

erik.schultz32 | 18/02/2020

I also took delivery of my SR+ in September 2019 and I don't have HW3. Seems like Tesla sold these cars with the pretext that the hardware was the most recent when in fact it wasn't. I for one am not happy with it as I was under the impression my car being built in September 2019 would have the latest hardware as Elon said at the Autonomy Day in April 2019.

stingray.don | 19/02/2020


How did you determine that you don’t have HW3? Are you seeing this under “additional vehicle information” on the UI?

stingray.don | 19/02/2020

Also, just because you took delivery in September does not necessarily mean that it was built in September. Was is the build date of your car?

EVRider | 19/02/2020

@erik: Did you purchase FSD?

erik.schultz32 | 19/02/2020

Build date on the car door says September 2019. I did not purchase FSD but that doesn't seem relevant as the hardware should be there based on what Musk said. The concern is that my car that was suppose to have the latest hardware doesn't, and with the most recent software update the gap between hardware capabilities is already apparent and will only continue to grow with more and more software updates. Nothing was mentioned to me that I had the older hardware when I placed the order or took delivery, and I doubt the sales people would even know. Just disappointed that even Tesla isn't above the bait and switch of legacy car dealers. I believe Tesla should make it right and install the HW3 that my car was advertised to have.

erik.schultz32 | 19/02/2020

I confirmed via Tesla Chat that my car indeed has HW2.5

stingray.don | 19/02/2020

What is listed under “additional vehicle information” on the UI?

EVRider | 19/02/2020

@erik: I agree that Tesla should give people free HW3 upgrades without FSD if they were supposed to get HW3 to begin with, but it might hard to make that happen unless it's clear that FSD improves the basic AP that you have in your car. So far, I don't think HW3 gets you anything except better visualizations, and most of those might require the FSD option.

remco.gommers | 11/03/2020

My car was delivered in Dec 2019 in the Netherlands and I paid for FSD, and got one with HW2.5 according to the "additional vehicle information"!! I am pissed as hell. I didn't pay €6400 for obsolete hardware! I fully agree with Erik.Schulz that the way Tesla advertises it was clear that cars from that date would come standard with HW3.
With the new software 2020.8.1 I can't get the new visualisations to work because of obsolete hardware.
I want Tesla to give me what I paid for. This comes close to fraud..

Xerogas | 11/03/2020

@remco.gommers: the current software doesn’t yet make use of the new hardware. When true FSD software is ready, Tesla will reach out to you and schedule an appointment to upgrade your hardware for free.

All you’re missing out on are some silly visuals that don’t change how the car drives.

Alternatively, Tesla could have made you wait to get your car. Would you rather have a car now, and get a free upgrade later, or wait many months until your car was ready with the new software and hardware combined?


Xerogas | 11/03/2020

@erik.schultz32: "I believe Tesla should make it right and install the HW3 that my car was advertised to have."
You didn’t buy FSD. Once you buy FSD, Tesla will indeed “make it right” and install the necessary hardware to support it (once the software is ready).

Think of it another way: what if everyone who bought the car, but did not buy AutoPilot or FSD, received a car with NO COMPUTER AT ALL, because, ya know, none is needed. Why should Tesla spend any money at all installing hardware that’s not being used? The only reason you have any computer at all is because it’s more streamlined at the factory for Tesla to pre-install everything and just deactivate it.

If it were possible to buy a Tesla without Autopilot and FSD, they would have every right to ship you a car that had no cameras, no neural network computer, not even an upgrade path to install those things in the future. If you changed your mind, you’d have to sell the car and buy a whole new one that had all those options installed. But instead, they’ve made it easy for you to upgrade for a reasonable price later. Seems like simple and smart logistics to me.

stingray.don | 11/03/2020


Relax. If you bought FSD, then they will upgrade it for free. The visualizations were novel for about 20 minutes. I have since turned them off because They just clutter up the screen without providing any useful information. You’re not missing anything.

erik.schultz32 | 12/03/2020

@Xerogas I believe that you are missing the point, no matter the product, the CEO stated that a product is coming with a specific item, that product was delivered with an older version of that item.

There are instances of this happening in the China M3 deliveries now and Musk apologized and stated that Tesla will be replacing these computers when units become available. If this isn't wrong why would Tesla be replacing these units? Seems like I'm not in the wrong here as it's being validated by the new Chinese built M3's. I'm thinking of trying to schedule a HW3 retrofit on the app and see if they will honor it.

Xerogas | 12/03/2020

A difference that makes no difference is no difference.

The only reason Tesla is replacing those computers is either to save face in a culture that requires it, to comply with a local law, or to make it easier on their future resale of those cars. But until one of those people buys FSD, they’re not going to see any real-world improvement.

In fact, when HW3 was first announced, the autopilot software ran WORSE on HW3 than it did on HW2.5. That’s the nature of software development; it takes a while to rewrite the software to make it fully use all the features of the new hardware, and sometime emulation makes it slower.

I get it, the Chinese are super-sensitive because VW pulled a fast one on them, and screwed them over with some lies about hardware. But this is an overreaction to something entirely different and is stupid. Buy FSD, get HW3 that can make use of it. Don’t buy FSD, and be happy with the hardware that is perfectly capable of non-FSD functions. Upgrade to FSD, and be happy that Tesla with THEN upgrade your hardware FOR FREE.

This is nothing more than a bureaucratic response to a typo on a parts list. If the Chinese are freaky about those things, then fine, deal with it, but don’t claim Tesla is trying to pull a fast one on the customers who DIDN’T BUY FSD.

erik.schultz32 | 13/03/2020

I would pose this question, if you bought a new iPhone and you later find out that Apple decided that it still had a large stock of the older camera chips from the previous generation so they decided let's install them in the new phones and just sell them under the impression its the latest camera. It mostly works the same, takes picture and all, so what would be the issue?

You mean to tell me that you wouldn't feel deceived? Tesla has cemented itself as a tech company that sells cars, when it comes to tech the latest and greatest is always important to the consumer. With the rewrite of the AP base code to take advantage of the new hardware soon to be released, what's not to assume the standard AP will also take advantage of the capabilities of HW3? All the M3's come with AP standard so this seems integral to the operation of that feature.

derotam | 13/03/2020

@erik.schultz32: maybe I missed it, but have you looked at the “additional vehicle information” on the UI in the car and see what THAT says your HW version is? | 13/03/2020

@erik - I agree it would be nice to have HW3, but it makes zero functional difference, so I'm not quite sure of the big deal. The purchase contract does not state which AP version hardware you'll get, only the functionality is stated. Without FSD, you get AP features, which are the same for HW2.5 and HW3.

Perhaps a better example is if you buy an iPhone and the camera is rated at 8 M pixels. If Apple elects to install some with an 8 M pixel cameras and some with a 10 M pixel camera and software limit it to 8 M pixels, and it has zero functional difference - do you care? Should Apple tell you it's doing this? Do you feel cheated for getting what you paid for?

Now there is one minor functional difference between HW2.5 and HW3 - if you later buy FSD, the AP2.5 hardware must be updated requiring a service call.

erik.schultz32 | 13/03/2020

It's more about future proofing. I don't want my car to be like every other piece of technology that is obsolete as soon as it rolls off the production line. Add to it the fact that it was built with the obsolete hardware in the first place even after the company stated that every car would come standard with that hardware.

It's the principal of the matter that statements we're made about the product by the CEO that proved not to be true, that is a fact.

EVRider | 13/03/2020

Even though it makes little functional difference, I agree with the sentiment that anyone with FSD who should have gotten HW3 based on when their car was built should get the upgrade for free if they want it.

For example, it's not inconceivable that at some point Tesla will change their policy on free HW3 upgrades for people that haven't already purchased FSD. Maybe they'll even do this as an incentive for people to buy FSD if they haven't already. Should someone who should have gotten HW3 have to pay for the upgrade if they're no longer free? I don't think so.

I think the recent attention on this issue in the Chinese market may force Tesla to address it worldwide.

EVRider | 13/03/2020

I meant to say "anyone without FSD who should have gotten HW3..."

forrester5696 | 13/03/2020

Tesla has said that its HW3 chip is in all Model S and X vehicles built since ~March 20, 2019, and all Model 3s built since ~April 12, 2019. Previously, Tesla used a chip from Nvidia referred to as the HW 2.5 chip.

Xerogas | 13/03/2020

@erik.schultz32: "It's more about future proofing."
But your car is future-proofed. That’s the beauty of it. As soon as you buy FSD, they will upgrade your hardware, for free. That’s literally the definition of future-proofing. They designed the computer to be swappable; that’s pretty damn hard to do, and very costly for them.

...and yes, if Apple sold me a phone for less money, premised on lower-specced photo capabilities, and told me that I could pay later to upgrade my photo capabilities, then I’d be happy to let them upgrade the camera electronics for free as soon as I paid for the upgrade.

erik.schultz32 | 14/03/2020

@Xerogas, you're missing the point, the car wasn't lower specced, it was not specced correctly. Any argument you make still doesn't excuse the fact that Musk stated every car after April 2019 was going to have HW3, which is the latest hardware, and that wasn't true.

blkice | 14/03/2020

@Erik I agree with you. A $60K car is not close to I phone. I might buy FSD after I get the MY and put some miles on it. Having never used AP I need to try it for a while ,maybe that’s all I need. If they put in 2.5 I will return the car within The 7 days.

blkice | 15/03/2020

I over reacted ,will keep the Y but Eric is right