Hard to believe that 100 years ago, it was considered a luxury to have a roof of ANY kind on your vehicle.
Plus, they weren’t even that sturdy to keep you covered. On rainy days, you were out of luck.
Tesla tried multiple roof designs before settling on one. Ultimately, Model 3 has no sunroof. It’s never had one. Instead, it has an all-glass roof that extends from front to rear windshield.
But that’s not to say that the roof in the Model 3 isn’t a really cool feature on its own.
Or that Tesla didn’t have a good reason for deciding not to include a sunroof or a moonroof.
First, let’s look at the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof.
Sunroof vs Moonroof: Differences are Night and Day
Although some might argue these are the same, there are some differences between the two.
Sunroofs are generally made of metal and are a solid body-colored panel that can manually slide open or pop up or be removed altogether to reveal the sky.
They’re opaque so you can’t see through them.
Moonroofs, on the other hand, are meant to be looked through so you can enjoy a star-filled night sky from your own vehicle.
They’re made of tinted glass that slides between the headliner and the roof.
Some come with a tilt option so you can breathe in some fresh outside air, but they’re not removable.
No More Big Sky Dreams
Another term auto manufacturers use is a panoramic sunroof.
This feature is popular because the glass is multi-paneled to give you a larger screen that offers some spectacular sky views.
You can even choose which panels to open so you can share the views with your passengers in the back.
The panoramic sunroof was the direction Tesla originally decided to go for its Model S, but in 2018, they discontinued it.
Complaints about reliability issues not allowing the sunroof to open and close all the way lead the company to scrap it.
Another concern for those with sunroofs in electric vehicles is the extra weight they carry.
It’s somewhere between 50 and 80 pounds for a normal sedan’s glass panel sunroof or between 120 and 200 pounds for those insane panoramic sunroofs that were on the Model S.
That extra baggage takes more energy to run your vehicle, which will drain the battery quicker.
Plus, there’s the heat factor.
Allowing those interior temperatures to rise by letting that sunshine through will have you running the A/C more, sapping your battery.
Drivers in hot climates particularly complain that sunroofs just create too much heat in the vehicle.
Without adding some serious tinting, many find it unbearable.
This could be another reason that Tesla went the route of a glass roof instead of a sunroof.
The solid glass roof that now sits atop all Tesla models, including the Model 3, came out in 2016 and was endorsed by Elon Musk himself as a superior option.
For those of you who are absolutely sold on adding a sunroof to your Model 3, there are aftermarket installation options.
However, since the Model 3 now has that glass roof, an aftermarket installation would involve a lot of modifications to the car and would likely be very costly.
Remember too that it would add little, if any, resale value to your car.
The Model 3’s tinted glass roof provides ultraviolet and infrared protection.
It maximizes your view while driving, and it’s a unique experience for anyone who has never driven a car with a glass roof before.
Model 3, Model Y, or Model X have all had this glass roof since day one.
Tesla never even tried the Panoramic Sunroof on these vehicles, likely as a lesson learned from the issues experienced with the Model S.
Safety and durability were top of mind when designing the glass roof, and safety tests on the Model 3’s roof showed it could withstand over 20,000 lbs of force during the NHTSA’s evaluation.
The Tesla glass roof is especially impressive, and drivers have noticed another really cool feature:
See how the glass roof changes to a rusty orange color with water?
Don’t worry, it’s not rust; it’s actually pretty cool science.
The two glass panels that make up the Model 3’s roof are more complex than most simple car glasses.
They are designed with a UV-reflective layer to repel those wavelengths of light that cause an enclosed space to heat up, known as the greenhouse effect.
That UV-reflective layer contributes to the orange color of the roof, especially when there are raindrops or condensation on top.
You can see how the raindrops on top of the glass roof of your Tesla Model 3 appear orange in this 30-second video clip:
Keep in mind that the orange-looking roof is working double time to keep your vehicle efficient.
Reducing the greenhouse effect is crucial to keeping the interior at a decent temperature so the battery doesn’t have to work as hard to control the climate, sapping less of your driving range in the process.
In fact, according to a European Glass Trade Association, glass roofs like these can improve a vehicle’s overall efficiency by 2% to 4%.
You’ve Got it Made in The Shade
If you’re finding the Model 3 a little too hot to handle with the glass roof, there are sunshade options available on the market to block those rays and tamp down the effects of the sun.
Tesla’s own sunshade option for the Model 3 is made of a lightweight mesh fabric and is totally collapsible for storage.
With options for both front and rear shade, it can block two-thirds of the solar thermal load so your cabin doesn’t fry in the heat.
This sunshade from SUMK, available on Amazon, comes in cheaper and uses a double layer of high-quality mesh to prevent sunlight from entering directly.
It’s got a unique V-shape design for the rear window for better visibility when driving.
If you’re experiencing sunburn with your glass rooof, visit our Model 3 Sunshade buying guide for recommendations.
Final Thoughts: Does the Tesla Model 3 Have a Sunroof?
While it might be a bummer for some that the Tesla Model 3 does not come with a sunroof, the all-glass roof is superior in many ways.
It extends from front to back, creating a sense of openness from every seat.
It adds precious centimeters’ worth of headroom for passengers.
And its lightweight and UV-reflective properties makes it a better overall fit for the electric sedan.