A test mule of the suspected Project Highland version of the Tesla Model 3 was spotted in China’s Xinjiang region, as per a new spy video shared by Drive Tesla Canada on Twitter.

A white Tesla Model 3 appears on the highway with its front and rear sections hidden under black covers. It’s hard to spot any specific design details in the short video (embedded below), but the manner in which the facelifted elements are covered is consistent with several other pre-production models we’ve seen recently.

We reported last week that the facelifted Model 3 entered trial production at Gigafactory Shanghai. Twitter users and local reports suspect that mass production is expected to start in September 2023, while customer deliveries could begin by October at an estimated price of 200,000 yuan, which is $26,463 as per the exchange rate on August 15, 2023.

We’ve also seen several prototypes plying on California’s streets, especially near the brand’s engineering headquarters in Palo Alto and the Fremont factory. The version seen in California had a slightly longer front overhang, and a possible new camera positioned low on the front bumper.


CEO Elon Musk stated during the Q2 2023 earrings call that Tesla’s Fremont factory would be upgraded during the third quarter. Several building permit filings with the City of Fremont suggest that new equipment was on its way to the factory, including a new tent, or “sprung structure.”

What do these indications mean for the Tesla audience? Tesla’s lack of a PR department makes it hard to confirm these details, but several reports suspect that the upgrades are for the so-called Project Highland.

If the reports are accurate, the fourth quarter of 2023 might witness two major launches from Tesla, the facelifted Model 3 and the Cybertruck. Low-volume production of the latter is expected to begin later this year, and mass production could start early next year.

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@insideevs.com