Tesla Model 3 Spotted: Up Close And In The Rain – Video

10 months ago by Jay Cole 43

A black Tesla Model 3 was recently spotted making a late night stop at a Supercharging station in Cincinnati (which is a long way from HQ in California), and fortunately InsideEVs reader and Instagrammer Jordan Hart (jordanhart88) caught the upcoming EV on video and passed it along.

An early look at a Tesla Model 3 release candidate!

Jordan added some depth to his experience with the Model 3 in the rain:

“Super excited I got to witness and record a Model 3 up close! In a thunderstorm no less..

…there was definitely a puck shaped sensor on back trunk lid and another antenna hanging below the back bumper with some wiring. Chase care was a model S with a lot of hard pelican cases and gear in back of the model S. Also when my friend and I arrived to the SC which is at the Cincinnati Tesla store, there was an enclosed trailer leaving the lot like he had just dropped them off to charge and then depart on a long term test drive perhaps…”

As for when we will see the “official” unveiling of production-version of the Model 3, Tesla CEO confirmed in a recent tweetstorm this month that was we still have two months or so to wait – July.

Musk Tweet “July” In Response To Question On Model 3 Final Reveal Date

Also in the news this weekend:  Tesla CEO introduced his “Boring Company” for building underground transportation (see swanky video demonstration on that here), and showed off a first teaser pic of the company’s all-electric Semi-Truck, that Musk says will out torque and out range any diesel offering.

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43 responses to "Tesla Model 3 Spotted: Up Close And In The Rain – Video"

  1. Rich says:

    Jordan – thanks for getting out in the rain to get this video!

    Doesn’t look like the sensor to turn the driving lights on at night time is functioning. They started driving the Model 3 and the tail lights weren’t on.

    I’m still trying to get a feel for the Model 3 height. It looks close to the Model S height in the video. Maybe an inch or two taller?

    1. Chris says:

      Rich, what makes you think Model 3 will have headlight sensors? It’s a more basic car, so we’ll probably have to turn them on manually, like commoners. This driver is probably used to driving Model S and forgot to turn them on himself. Probably the main reason I wouldn’t trade down from my Model S: I’ve forgotten how to drive a common car.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Even my lowest optioned SparkEV has headlight sensor. It’s not something that will cost much. In same way, I suspect Tesla 3 base will have power windows and door locks and A/C.

      2. Courious says:

        Didn’t anybody else catch that the article said this Model 3 was spotted in CINCINNATI, not California, Cincinnati!!

        What is a Model 3 doing in Cincinnati?

        1. Chris says:

          Taking over, baby. Taking over.

          1. Curious says:


            1. Null says:


              If you can sell it in Cincinati, you can sell it everywhere…

              Old salesmen truism-

        2. ffbj says:

          They probably figured since nothing ever happens in Cincinnati, that it would be a good place to test it, the M3, out.

        3. Martin Winlow says:

          Wet weather-testing?

    2. captylor says:

      Some number have laying around
      Might have changed for the RC and final versions. From the Alphas shown last year sizes.

      Model 3
      184.1″ L x 74.2″ W x 56.5″ H WB 113″
      DUAL 235/35R20 / 275/30R20

      Model S
      196″ L x 77″ W x 58.5″ H WB 116.5″

      Model X
      198″ L x 82″ W x 66″ H WB 116.7″

      Chevy Bolt
      164″ L x 69.5″ W x 62.8″ H

      Hyundai Ioniq
      176″ L x 72″ W x 57″ H

      1. Rich says:

        Thanks for the info.

        56.5″ H is low. I’m looking for another car that has the same exterior dimensions. It looks like the Model 3 exterior dimensions are almost identical to the MB C300 Sedan.

        1. super390 says:

          The BMW 3-Series has always been understood to be the Model 3’s target, and the Mercedes C-Class is its own 3-Series fighter, like the Audi’s A3. So these cars should be similar in dimensions.

          However, with the extra trunk in front and the lack of an engine there, the interior can be longer and I’m hoping that pushes the Model 3’s total space up into the next size class, against the 5-Series, E-Class and A5. None of these are small cars anymore.

          1. Rich says:

            I wonder if the adjustable air suspension could raise the Model 3 by 4 inches to increase ease of entry and exit from the cabin. 🙂

  2. Mathew says:

    This storm sure was fun here in Cincy!

    Great video!

  3. ffbj says:

    In the intro: A late (night) stop. Make a note of it.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Thanks for the heads-up, should indeed be “making a late night stop at…”, fixed!

  4. William says:

    Looks like it passes my Downpour Test! I think my drooling test is similar to the Model 3 rain weather event! Great Video! Thanks JordanHart88

  5. pjwood1 says:

    Not saying Tesla hasn’t dealt with it, but EVs in general have problems with defrost since heat is far from free and humidity doesn’t naturally get taken down by high temperature engine coolant. The Volt throws thousands of watts at the windshield, and through its battery coolant loop. Try operating a Tesla in these conditions with climate control off, and you’ll quickly be pulling over. Mercedes is the only I know of to wisely ***put an element in the front windshield glass***, as is normally in back on most cars. It’s efficient and effective, though maybe not fast enough for this guy.

    1. SparkEV says:

      I got one of those “mop on handle” manual windshield defroster for $10, and it works better than anything. It’s also portable to my other cars.

      1. Shaun says:

        Are you referring to a windshield scraper here or something else?

        1. Terawatt says:

          Yes (else).

    2. Rich says:

      “Mercedes is the only I know of to wisely ***put an element in the front windshield glass***”

      I’ll second this. Unlike the rear window defogger, it’s my understanding you cannot see the defogger in the front windshield. Awesome.

      1. Mark.ca says:

        So you guys haven’t seen the eGolf yet? It was a heated windshield.

        1. Martin Winlow says:

          So does any reasonably specced Renault – not to mention Ford (here in the UK at least). Quite why it isn’t at least an option (if not standard equipment) on all EVs (let alone Teslas), given how much energy it would save, is one of those Complete Mysteries…

  6. Serial anti tesla troll thomas says:

    Not enough power to switch on the lights during driving in the night?

  7. Startrek01 says:

    Did they confirm they saw the driver? Looks like remote controlled based on how the car drove off…

    1. CLIVE says:

      Seriously yes the driver is there.

      Watch it on a larger screen or grab some glasses.

    2. needa says:

      They are no where near driverless yet. Especially in the rain.

  8. CLIVE says:

    Maybe the chrome will wash away

    1. Rich says:

      The chrome makes a big eye. It’s watching you!

      1. CLIVE says:

        love it

  9. Ct200h says:

    The car had what i would say are 17″ wheels ( good looking wheels!) and I would guess 225/45/17 tires

    1. paul smith says:

      And what was the rubber compound?

  10. Jason says:

    Look closely at the driver, is he/she wiping the windscreen? That doesn’t look good. Also on passenger side front window it looks like it is down slightly, again that doesn’t bode well as it would appear the windscreen is not defrosted, which would make sense as to why it is driving off slowly (can’t see). Maybe they just running out of juice and coming for a charge when caught on video, or maybe this awesome new ventilation system isn’t so awesome, which will be a real problem for a vehicle set for production in a couple months. It is a bit of a mystery, how long has it been sitting there? Just started charging, just finished charging? Very interesting.
    Compared to MS in video, the M3 looks reasonably larger than I expected.

    1. Don says:

      I have the same concern about the new ventilation system. I noticed something wasn’t right in the unveiling test drives last year when the windows were fogging up during the test drives. If you notice the cinncinati video, the windows are all fogged up while the Model S windows seems fine. I’m hoping it’s nothing since a proper directional ventilation system is what is needed in colder climates.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Or maybe, as the article suggests, the Model 3 had just been dropped off from a trailer, and the ventilation system had not yet had time to warm up the air to defog the windshield.

      But given Southern California’s sunny Mediterranean climate, it’s good they’re testing out the car — including its ventilation system — in areas where it gets cold and wet.

      1. needa says:

        Thanks for the comment. I went up and read things thanks to it. “Puck sized sensor on the trunk lid”. hmmm.
        Sounds like Tesla might have wised up a bit and are installing LIDAR. I really do hope this is the case. I will be able to stop hammering them on their decision not to use it.

        1. Rich says:

          No LIDAR
          This was stated in the TED interview with Musk a couple days ago.

          1. needa says:


  11. Lt says:

    Testing tires by driving from Continental in Charlotte to Bridgestone in Novi, MI.

  12. Martin T. says:

    Look good but could have done with some Mazda Kudo “flow” moving design details to make it better. Still very nice.

  13. leafowner says:

    same license plate as the one spotted in CA. My guess is doing some real life range testing.

  14. Fabian says:

    Wow, that downpour was insane. Thanks for being a trooper and taking that video.