Tesla Model 3 refresh prototype spotted being tested

Another Tesla Model 3 refresh “project highland” prototype has been spotted being tested in California ahead of its launch.

Late last year, we started hearing rumors that Tesla is working on a Model 3 refresh that would come during the second half of 2023.

The project is reportedly codenamed “Highland.”

For a few years now, Tesla has been integrating its large casting technology into Model Y with single large casting parts replacing dozens of parts in the electric SUV.

This new technology has enabled Tesla to greatly improve manufacturing efficiency with the Model Y compared to Model 3. CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla will bring the same technology to the Model 3 eventually, but he couldn’t exactly say when.

The problem is that such an update to the Model 3 would temporarily slow down production, and Tesla couldn’t afford that while it was still ramping up Model Y production. However, Model Y production is now starting to exceed Model 3 production, and it could be good timing for Tesla to update the Model 3 using the technology.

In December, a Model 3 prototype with heavy camouflage was spotted being tested in California.

Now another Tesla Model 3 prototype under camouflage has been spotted in California as Tesla appears to be ramping up testing of the new version of the Model 3:

Like the previous prototype, it’s hard to see any clear change to the Model 3 thanks to the camouflage covering the front and back ends of the vehicle.

The front end is expected to feature a significant facelift, but it’s hard to tell from that picture:

While the vehicle is expected to feature a design refresh, much of the improvements are expected to be at the body level and not necessarily visible.

The improvements could lead to weight reduction and efficiency improvements, but the ease of manufacturing is likely going to be the biggest difference.

The new Model 3 is also expected to feature Tesla’s new “Hardware 4” suite of sensors and computers for Autopilot and self-driving.

It’s not clear when Tesla plans to announce those changes, but more details could be released on Investor Day next month as the automaker is expected to give a product roadmap update.

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