In November last year, reports surfaced suggesting that Tesla was working on a Model 3 refresh under the codename “Project Highland.” The vehicle was anticipated to undergo several updates, from its infotainment system to its exterior and its powertrain. Production of the Tesla Model 3 Project Highland units is expected to commence in Q3 2023.
Over the subsequent months, EV enthusiasts in the United States reported sightings of Project Highland units. In every instance, however, the front and rear ends of the Model 3 Project Highland vehicles were concealed. This pattern persisted for all sightings of the forthcoming model, at least until recently.
An image posted on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit allegedly offers a first glimpse of a Tesla Model 3 Project Highland unit. Although the vehicle in the photo remained partially covered, its visible portions already showcased several noteworthy changes compared to the current Model 3. Unsurprisingly, the photo has piqued the interest of the EV community.
Model 3 Refresh
by u/ffiarpg in teslamotors
Immediately noticeable about the alleged Project Highland Model 3 was its headlights, which appear to be inspired by the next-generation Tesla Roadster and the Model S. The sleeker headlights provide the car a more aggressive and sportier aesthetic compared to the Model 3’s current iteration.
Another striking feature in the leaked image is the absence of fog lights on the vehicle. This is intriguing, given that fog lights are a common fixture in today’s cars. However, some luxury automakers such as Audi, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz have omitted fog lights from their vehicles over the years. In a 2017 comment to the New York Times, Michael Larsen, a technical fellow at GM, explained that the Cadillac CT6’s lack of fog lights was inconsequential since its advanced headlights already perform the functions of fog lamps.
The leaked image of the alleged Model 3 Project Highland unit also hints at changes to the vehicle’s bumper, which now seems designed for easy replacement if damaged. The center display, at least based on the leaked photo, appears to be slightly angled towards the driver as well. This would make it easier for drivers to view information on the vehicle’s infotainment system.
It is unclear whether the leaked image truly depicts a Model 3 Project Highland unit. However, skeptics have pointed out that the presence of bugs in the front bumper of the vehicle was strange since Project Highland vehicles always have always been spotted with a protective covering on their front ends. Others have pointed out that the vehicle’s A-pillar appears somewhat “off.”
Despite these reservations, Tesla software tracking service Teslascope noted that the leaked image is likely accurate. The Tesla software tracker shared a screenshot of a conversation it allegedly had with a Tesla employee in February, in which the employee mentioned that Project Highland would introduce a new headlight style that is “more Vette, less Porsche.” That’s a pretty accurate description of the headlights in the leaked Project Highland photo.
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