The facelifted Tesla Model 3, also known as “Project Highland” during its development process, is not yet available in the United States – although deliveries are already underway in Europe and other parts of the world are already underway.

However, the updated EV will go on sale here, too, eventually. Two more photos of the refreshed Model 3 were recently posted on Reddit showing what appears to be a Chinese-made but U.S.-spec version of the entry-level sedan, signaling that Tesla is working to get the EV certified for American roads.

As is the case with many other car models sold here, the dead giveaway that it’s a U.S.-bound model is the presence of the amber reflectors inside the headlights, which is a federal requirement here.

 
 

This hasn’t stopped commenters on Reddit from arguing that it makes the car look much worse than the Europe-spec version which doesn’t have amber reflectors. At the time of writing this piece, over 160 comments have been made on the photo showing the front of the car that was spotted somewhere in California.

Some went as far as saying, “Thoughts? It looks like shit. That’s my thoughts,” while others were more constrained: “For such a small little detail it's amazing how much it affects the looks.”

Comments aside, the amber reflectors inside the headlights of the facelifted Model 3 aren’t exactly breaking news, as the first-ever leaked photo of the updated EV had them, so this latest photo only goes to confirm that the American-bound units will have them.

However, I think it’s important to know why the amber reflectors are there in the first place. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever get a reply from Tesla regarding this, considering the company doesn’t have a great relationship with the press, but we can put two and two together and come up with a respectable answer, albeit non-official.

First, amber reflectors are a federal requirement for all new cars sold in the United States, as stated in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). According to the law, all passenger vehicles need to have two amber reflex reflectors and two amber intermediate side reflex reflectors, plus a bunch of other things, but you get the point.

Model 3 Project Highland

Facelifted U.S.-Spec Model 3

2024 Tesla Model 3 First Drive Review

Facelifted European-spec Model 3 Highland

Tesla Model 3

Pre-facelift U.S-Spec Tesla Model 3

Second, it’s long been touted that the facelifted Model 3 would be all about cost reductions and better production processes, so putting as many components inside the headlight makes sense. In fact, the fog lights might also be inside the headlight assembly, seeing how there aren’t any lighting elements embedded in the front bumper.

The non-facelift Model 3 has its amber reflectors next to the bumper-mounted fog lights, but those have disappeared from the new version, so it makes sense they would all be relocated further up.

What’s your take on this? Head over to the comments section below and let us know what you think.

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