This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the Tesla Model 3, which – in the automotive world – usually means it’s time for a refresh. And if you’re following the American EV manufacturer, you know that its smallest model is bound to be upgraded in one way or another, courtesy of the so-called Project Highland.
Earlier this week, a camouflaged test vehicle with manufacturer plates was spotted driving down the road, somewhat confirming that Tesla is up to something. The photo was posted by u/the_frog_said on Reddit’s r/teslamotors subreddit, saying that the disguised Model 3 had the front and rear bumpers covered.
Judging by the number plates, it’s the same test vehicle spotted in December 2022 in a parking lot in Santa Cruz, when we got our first look at the camouflaged prototype.
Tesla is tight-lipped about this matter and until now, it hasn’t published anything official about the upcoming facelift for the Model 3, but to be fair, not many legacy automakers announce their plans for vehicle revamps. However, according to a Reuters report that quotes an insider, the American brand is expected to update its smallest model in the same way it did with the Model S in 2021.
The changes are expected to be mostly under the skin, with improvements to the infotainment system, manufacturing, and possibly the batteries, but judging by the camouflaged prototype’s appearance, we assume Tesla will do some sort of visual refresh, too.
The facelifted Tesla Model 3 is expected to go into production by the third quarter of 2023 at the company’s Shanghai Gigafactory first, followed by the Fremont facility in Northern California. Filings for modifications to the Fremont factory were spotted as early as mid-2022, signaling that Project Highland was underway before Reuters reported on it.
We expect to learn more about the refreshed Model 3 during Tesla’s 2023 Investor Day on March 1, when the company will discuss, among other things, the “generation 3 platform,” which some have speculated that it’s related to Project Highland.
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