It’s already been five years since the Tesla Model 3 first launched — and it’s time for an update.
All the hype right now focuses on the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck and even the far larger Semi. Even with those vehicles ostensibly coming soon, any automaker needs to focus on revamping its existing lineup when necessary. It’s been a few years now since Tesla brought out a fresh redesign, and apparently engineers are working on just that with an overhauled Model 3, according to a Reuters report.
Codenamed “Highland”, four sources claimed the EV automaker is developing a revamped version of its most popular model to date. The goal here, according to those close to the project, is to cut production costs and “boost the appeal” of the aging compact sedan. Now, Tesla has consistently updated the car to boost range and improve functionality through software updates, even if the car looks the same.
In the light of stiffer competition and evolving customer base, though, it’s necessary to facilitate more visual changes. The competition element rings emphatically true in China, where Model 3 sales fell 9% through September 2022, compared to a year earlier.
Will reducing complexity lower prices?
In response to the tough climate over there, Tesla cut Model 3 and Model Y prices by about 10% to make it more appealing to buyers. This time around, an updated Model 3 will supposedly be far less complex to build. As a result, Tesla will be able to crank out more units from its Shanghai Gigafactory and Fremont, California facility — though it’s not clear whether the potential cost savings will ultimately make it to consumers.
CEO Elon Musk said in an interview at a Baron Funds conference in early November: “Over and over, we found parts that are not needed. They were put in there just in case or by mistake. We eliminated so many parts from a car that did nothing.” To that end, Tesla has already made pioneering investments into its Giga Press to create single pieces in a vehicle assembly, making the overall car faster and cheaper to build. The company also designed a new 4,680-cell “bonded structure” battery pack that improves rigidity and replaces older, more expensive designs.
Right now, the Tesla Model 3 starts at $46,990 for the base, rear-wheel drive version. While this reported update will change up the car’s exterior styling, Tesla is also focused on updated features like the center infotainment display, according to the sources. The changes may well follow the updated Model S sedan, including a steering yoke (shown above). They said this refreshed Model 3 would start production in the third quarter of 2023.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.