Tesla may underpromise and overdeliver with the Model 3 Highland in the US

Credit: Sawyer Merritt/X

Tesla has not really “underpromised and overdelivered” since it started deliveries of the Model Y crossover earlier than expected in March 2020. At the time, Tesla had maintained that Model Y deliveries were due in Fall 2020. This same thing may be happening with the upgraded Model 3, better known in EV circles as the Model 3 Highland, in the United States. 

The upgraded Tesla Model 3’s Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions were unveiled in late August 2022, but it soon became evident that the vehicle would only be available in territories that are supplied by Gigafactory Shanghai. The United States, which gets its Model 3 sedans from the Fremont Factory, still received the previous generation Model 3. 

Reports also emerged then that the United States would not be getting the Model 3 Highland for a notable amount of time. Optimistic predictions from Tesla watchers suggested a release date for the upgraded vehicle sometime in 2024, while those who were more conservative suggested that the Model 3 Highland could arrive in the US even later. As of late, however, it is starting to seem that Tesla may be ready to release the upgraded Model 3 sooner than expected. 

Over the past weeks, sightings of fully uncovered Model 3 Highland vehicles have been reported on social media. The vehicles are quite unique, as they feature a Tesla badge written in Chinese characters, making them seem like they were produced at Giga Shanghai. Observations of the Model 3 Highland units’ VINs suggested that the cars were produced in the Fremont Factory, however. Interestingly enough, some of the upgraded Model 3 units were marked as engineering vehicles. 

What is immediately noticeable from the vehicles that have recently been spotted in the United States is the fact that they are already very finely made. This suggests that if the vehicles are indeed manufactured in the Fremont Factory, the facility is already producing upgraded Model 3 units that are ready for customer deliveries. If this were indeed the case, it would not be surprising if customer deliveries of the Model 3 Highland in the United States start earlier than expected, perhaps as early as Q1 2024. 

A hint at such a timeline may have been dropped by Tesla in late November. At the time, Tesla Australia chief engineer and Model 3 program veteran Daniel Ho reportedly remarked that a revamped Model 3 Performance would make its way to Australia in the first half of 2024. The comments suggested that serious developments could be expected in the Model 3 program in early 2024. One of these may very well be the start of the revamped vehicle’s production at the Fremont Factory. 

Tesla has been accused of overpromising and underdelivering as of late. Elon Musk’s FSD promises have proven inaccurate time and time again; the Model S Plaid+ was canceled before it was released; the next-generation Roadster is still nowhere to be found; the Semi is still not ramped; progress on Giga Nevada’s expansion and Giga Mexico has been practically nonexistent; and the Cyberbeast’s range is significantly lower than expected despite its notable price hike. If Tesla manages to release the Model 3 Highland earlier than expected in the United States, it could prove that the company can still exceed expectations, especially when it quietly executes on its goals. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to simon@teslarati.com to give us a heads up.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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