Tesla China is reportedly preparing for the release of the Model 3 refresh – the so-called Project Highland – and recent aerial footage taken at Gigafactory Shanghai suggests that the EV maker may have already started production.
A video posted by drone operator Jason Yang, who has been closely following the Giga Shanghai project since its early days, revealed a growing fleet of fully covered vehicles in the factory's logistics lot.
The mystery vehicles could be facelifted Model 3 sedans, although that's obviously unconfirmed at the moment. Still, unless Tesla China is out to prank drone operators and their audience, there's no reason to cover vehicles that have already been released.
As a result, the covered cars are from a new model line, and the Model 3 Project Highland is the most plausible "suspect," as it's the vehicle that's closest to its launch date, along with the Cybertruck that will be made at Giga Texas.
This hypothesis is also supported by recent reports from China. Earlier this month, a report from China's JRJ claimed that Tesla's facelifted Model 3 had already entered trial production in Shanghai, with mass production expected to kick off in September along with the first deliveries.
Then last week, China Securities Journal cited a source familiar with the matter who said Tesla's updated Model 3 is expected to go on sale in a matter of weeks.
The source claimed the EV maker is already taking deposits from Chinese buyers of the all-electric sedan, with consumers being given the option of taking delivery of a current-generation Model 3 with numerous perks or a Project Highland unit with fewer incentives.
The report noted that so far, more consumers are choosing to wait for the rollout of the Model 3 Project Highland, even though the vehicle does not offer all the benefits of the current model.
The Tesla Model 3 refresh is expected to feature completely new headlights and front fascia, as well as refreshed taillights with vertical turn indicators instead of horizontal ones. The vehicle will also get a more capable camera setup to go with the brand's latest Hardware 4.0 driver assistance system computer.
As for the interior, it is said to be completely revamped, featuring a new dashboard, new door cards with ambient lighting, gear shifter integrated into the infotainment display, and more.