Tesla launched the Model 3 in July of 2017 and it has been its smallest and most affordable offering. It is therefore over 5 years old now and while it has received improvements in some areas, it was never extensively overhauled like the larger Model S was back in 2021.
But it too will get a revised version, which is currently in development under what is internally known as project “Highland” and it is expected to follow the same points as the Model S refresh. According to Reuters, which quotes unnamed insiders with knowledge of the project, the Model 3 facelift will include an exterior and interior revamp, as well as possible updates to its powertrain and battery pack.
For the Model S, last year’s update only subtly changed the exterior, which still looks very similar to the original launched almost a decade ago, but the interior was completely redesigned (to look more like the Model 3’s). With that in mind, we don’t expect the Model 3’s interior or exterior to change too much, although the manufacturer will surely want to make it somewhat obvious that it is an updated model.
Cutting production costs is also a priority, and one way the manufacturer will achieve this is by making its shell out of large cast pieces and reducing the number of components, like Tesla already did with the Model Y. The manufacturer will also eliminate as many physical buttons as possible and we say there’s a high chance that the Model 3 will get a yoke in place of a traditional steering wheel.
The source article quotes Ed Kim, who is president of the AutoPacific Group, and who said
Having said that, consumers still tend to equate visual changes with newness. Tesla knows visually tangible changes are in order.
The upcoming changes that potential customers can see and feel will be very important in ensuring that EV customers still have Tesla at the top of their minds as truly excellent alternatives to Tesla are starting to flood the market.
Production of the updated Model 3 will reportedly first start in China in the third quarter of next year, and it is not yet known when it could be kicked off in the other factory that builds the model, in Fremont, California.