Tesla has a small fleet of the updated “Highland” Model 3 at the Fremont Factory, according to a recent flyover of the plant by a notable drone operator.
Tesla started building and delivering the new Model 3 last year in Shanghai, and they made their way to several regions, including Europe and the Middle East, toward the end of 2023.
There has been a lot of speculation in terms of when the new Model 3 would make it to the United States, and over the past week or so, we’ve seen some of them at the Fremont Factory, where the vehicle was rumored to be built initially.
We tracked several permits from the Fremont Factory over the past year and a half that gave us some clues as to what was going on at the plant in Northern California. Tesla was preparing production lines at the Fremont plant for the introduction of the new Model 3, according to filings, but it ultimately landed in China before it did here.
Now, we can confirm that there is a small fleet of six Model 3 Highland vehicles outside of the Fremont Factory, based on images captured by Met God In Wilderness, a drone operator that is often taking video and monitoring changes at the factory:
The images seem to confirm that Tesla is preparing for what could be a potentially imminent launch of the Model 3 Highland in the United States. Based on the changes made to the vehicle, we are unsure whether Tesla will have to be awarded a new Certificate of Conformity for the vehicle.
Because the vehicle is slightly different than past iterations of the Model 3, it would make sense that Tesla might have to send these units to the EPA for testing and have them recertified before they can be given to customers.
This process is usually not too strenuous, nor does it take very long. In the past, Tesla received approvals and Certificates of Conformity from the EPA less than a month after sending the cars to the agency for testing.
The new and revamped Model 3 could help spark interest in the Model 3 from those who already own the vehicle. We saw something similar when the Model 3 was initially refreshed a few years ago, but this is a different story altogether, considering Tesla has chosen to overhaul the design.
I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at email@example.com.