Tesla China has shrugged off rumors that its Model 3 Highland project will be subjected to a trial run at the company’s production facility in Shanghai.
However, there is more to this than meets the eye.
For the past 11 months, Tesla has been developing the Project Highland Model 3. While reports about the new Model 3 design first surfaced in late 2022, Teslarati found filings from the electric automaker that hinted the company was putting effort toward “Project Highland” since last Summer.
Rumors about the improvements to the Model 3 that would culminate from Project Highland were plentiful, but actual confirmation was never received. Tesla was reportedly working on a slightly new design, but more of the focus was on improving infotainment and working toward the development of its self-driving project, which CEO Elon Musk said will finally be finished this year.
Last month, photos of what was rumored to be the new Model 3 surfaced on Reddit and showed an entirely different front-end design for the all-electric sedan. Despite the silence from Tesla, it does appear that this could be the new Model 3 design, and while it was the only angle we were able to view, there were many differences.
The vehicle was essentially confirmed to be a rework of the Model 3’s current design, as Teslascope spoke to those familiar with the project. They were able to confirm the new design seen in the photo was an early Alpha build of the Project Highland Model 3.
However, rumors surfaced last week that Tesla would begin building the Highland Model 3 in Shanghai with a trial production run that could assess the automaker’s readiness to transition away from its current design.
However, Tesla has denied these rumors officially, according to Yicai Global, a Chinese media outlet.
There is more than meets the eye with this, however, as Tesla has denied some developments at one time, only for them to later be true, as pointed out by Sawyer Merritt.
The most recent example of this was a report from Reuters in late 2022 that claimed Tesla would ship vehicles from China to North America to help with demand. CEO Elon Musk stated this story was “false,” only for the automaker to begin shipping vehicles from Shanghai to a port in Washington State earlier this year.
Tesla does not want to tip its hand in terms of its competitive strategy. It could begin developing the Highland Model 3 project with a trial production run soon. However, we have to take the company at its word, at least for now.
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