Tesla Model 3 ‘Highland’ Refresh Nears Final Trial Production, Says Report

Tesla Model 3 ‘Highland’ Concept

As Tesla accelerates toward the final stages of trial production for its redesigned Model 3 sedan, sources familiar with the matter have provided insights into the company’s latest developments. Elon Musk’s electric vehicle giant is betting on this new Model 3 variant to make a stronger impact in China’s fiercely competitive EV market, reports Bloomberg.

The Model 3, which was pivotal in driving Tesla to profitability, is set to undergo significant revisions. The revamped model will showcase a slightly elongated, more sporty design with a sophisticated interior upgrade, according to individuals who requested anonymity due to the confidential nature of these details.

In an effort to prevent potential leaks, Tesla has implemented strict security measures at its Shanghai facility. Since earlier this month, production staff have been required to deposit their mobile phones in designated lockers outside the factory’s production lines.

According to insiders, the Phase 1 production line may temporarily suspend operations for a few days at the end of this month for necessary adjustments, though these plans may be subject to change. When contacted for comment, a Tesla representative offered no immediate response, naturally.

Tesla originally launched the Model 3 in the US in 2016, initiating mass production the following year. The company was able to reduce manufacturing costs significantly with the expansion of its Shanghai facility in 2019. Last year, Tesla hinted at upcoming upgrades to the car’s interior and power systems as part of a revamp, without providing further details.

In China, Tesla’s second-largest market globally, the company is facing increasing pressure to innovate amidst a burgeoning EV market. The competition has intensified, with Tesla itself initiating a price war that has caused significant price drops across various models. According to Sanford C. Bernstein, this year will see the unveiling of at least 155 pure electric and plug-in hybrid models in China alone.

Tesla raised the prices of its models in both the US and China recently. The pricing of the new Model 3 remains secret, leaving industry watchers wondering how fluctuating raw material costs might affect its final price tag.

Speculation around the new Model 3 has focused on the steering wheel design, which is rumored to resemble that of the Tesla Semi and the Model S, lacking a traditional stalk. This design element may lend credibility to rumors of a shift towards on-screen controls for transitioning between park, drive, and reverse modes.

Tesla’s operations in Shanghai have been significant, contributing nearly a quarter of the city’s total automotive production value last year. In recognition of this, local authorities have pledged to further strengthen their relationship with Tesla, aiming to introduce autonomous driving and robot modules in Shanghai.

With the Shanghai plant responsible for over half of Tesla’s global deliveries in 2022 and boasting a maximum production capacity of 1.1 million cars annually, the anticipation surrounding the revamped Model 3, or ‘Highland’ refresh, is on everybody’s mind. The Model 3 is long overdue for a redesign and we can’t wait to see what it’s going to finally look like.