Tesla’s vehicles defy convention in many ways, not least because the automaker doesn’t follow the traditional model-year update cycle that every other company employs. As a result, its vehicles get updates on a rolling basis, sometimes more than once a year, but we’re starting to see signs that a significantly overhauled Model 3 sedan is on the way. In between speculation and spy shots, a photo recently surfaced on the r/Teslamotors subreddit that claims to show a partially uncovered Model 3.
Before going too far, we should say that we don’t know if this image is legitimate or if the car is actually the new Model 3. That said, if it’s faked, it’s very convincing. The car, reportedly carrying the internal codename “Highland,” is expected to land later this year as a complete refresh for the Model 3. Though similar in styling to the current car, the mystery car in the image features sharper lines and a new headlight design, though some were quick to call out the lack of matrix headlights in the Reddit comments.
Tesla is expected to give the Model 3 an interior update and make changes to its powertrain for better performance and efficiency. If the car in the image is legit, it rides on a revised wheel design — and appears to have a gauge cluster bump for the driver. That would be a departure from the Model 3 we’ve had for years, which eschews a traditional gauge cluster in favor of Tesla’s do-it-all giant screen.
The automaker has updated its Model Y production lines with a large casting system that improves efficiency and reduces complexity. The company has confirmed that this technology would come to the Model 3 production lines but did not give a date or scope. Given the complications with ramping up the casting production system, Tesla could time the Model 3 transition to align with the release of a new model.