Tesla is reportedly revamping the Model 3 in a new project code-named “Highland.” In all honesty, it’s about time.
The Model 3 is arguably the most crucial vehicle in Tesla’s history. Before the Model 3, Tesla was confined to expensive, luxury vehicles with the Model S and Model X. While every day, and “average” people wanted to embark on the journey of owning and driving an electric car, very few in this category could ideally and logically afford Tesla’s first two commercial releases.
In mid-2017, the Model 3 rolled off Fremont production lines for the first time, and by 2019, the Model 3 was a regularly spotted EV in areas where EVs were few and far between. I am in York County, PA, and here, before the Model 3, the BMW i3 was all I really saw. Sometimes an e-Golf or Bolt EV would appear, but EVs didn’t become a regular sighting in South Central Pennsylvania until 2019 or 2020.
Small-town America is what truly encapsulates this country. I may be biased, but after spending time in big cities and small towns, there is no doubt, to me at least, that low-population towns are where true humankind is observed. Here is where tech tends to arrive much later than the hubs of American ingenuity. iPhones were rare in my high school of 1,000 people until 2011. Everyone drove a car from the 90s, for the most part. When I started writing about electric cars in 2019, many people I told didn’t realize EVs were truly in existence. Many believed they still needed gas to operate.
The Model 3 truly changed that narrative in my area. Since then, I’ve seen more EVs in general in my area, and it is not uncommon to see 5-6 different EV manufacturers in a 20-minute drive to the store.
Tesla truly catapulted EVs to what they are today, hate them or love them, they cannot be discredited. The Model 3 made EVs such a mainstream idea, that it may be somewhat of a sentimental design to some. However, feelings aside, it is time the car gets an upgrade.
According to a report from Reuters earlier today, Tesla is planning to revamp the Model 3’s most crucial features, including its interior and infotainment system. In my opinion, these things deserve upgrades because, simply put, they’re old.
Internally, Tesla’s infotainment is always up-to-date. However, an improved center screen with more intuitive designs, a high-quality and crystal-clear 5K monitor that could support gaming is the first idea. The center screen is oriented differently than the Model S and Model 3. It is a good size, but it is definitely time for Tesla to increase the quality of this monitor.
Interiors are a completely subjective topic, but I have personally felt minimalistic interiors are not a better option. Personally, I have found that touchscreens are not a less distracting option than knobs or buttons. Yes, knobs and buttons are clanky and can become invasive when they are placed too prominently on a dashboard. However, scrolling through a series of different screens to turn the air conditioning up or down a few degrees is more of a task than it should be.
What about the exterior?
Tesla hasn’t done much to change the look of the Model 3 from the outside for several years. Some might call chrome delete a major change, but it truly wasn’t monumental. To me, it only helped me recognize which Model 3s were newer than others in my area.
How much can you truly change the design of a vehicle before it becomes something else entirely? Honda has made the Civic for decades, and the 2022 versions are vastly different from even the models of ten years ago. I’m not sure how the Tesla community would take significant changes in the Model 3 design; it might be too mainstream of an idea. Tesla hasn’t done much to the Model S other than modernizing its front bumper and moving away from the old nose cone. For the most part, that car has stayed the same too.
Why the Model 3 deserves an update
The Model 3 was more than a catalyst for Tesla’s domination in the EV sector. It deserves to be updated and kept fresh for new owners, and it will only increase the possibility that people will return to Tesla for their next vehicle. I don’t know if I would ever drive a vehicle for a few years and then want to buy something that looks exactly the same on the inside and out.
Although the Model Y has overtaken the Model 3 as Tesla’s best-seller, some consumers may enjoy driving a sedan but will want an entirely new look in their next car. An update to the Model 3 is just what Tesla can do to keep things moving and fresh within the company’s most important product.