Unlike most automakers, Tesla relies heavily on over-the-air software updates in place of releasing a yearly design update, simply changing mechanical parts when new methods are created. Occasionally, however, Tesla does refresh its vehicles’ designs, and new reports show that the Model 3 is due to receive a facelift.
Tesla is reportedly planning to bring a new Model 3 design internally dubbed “Highland” to market, and it’s set to feature a more minimal interior, according to a report from Reuters. Although the Model 3 already has a fairly simple interior, Tesla is shifting toward an even more simplified design to help cut production costs and to incentivize new buyers with the upgraded look.
This will be the first time in the Model 3’s nearly-six-year history that its design has been refreshed, and reports say Tesla is aiming to begin production of the vehicle next year. Tesla plans to produce the refreshed Model 3 at its Gigafactories in Shanghai and Fremont, starting with Giga Shanghai in the third quarter of 2023. It’s unclear from the sources when production would begin at Tesla’s Fremont plant.
According to the original report, Tesla is simplifying the Model 3’s design by cutting the number of components used and by making the interior less complex overall. Simultaneously, the automaker plans to double down on features that are well-liked by customers, such as the center touchscreen.
“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,” Elon Musk said during an interview with Baron Capital at a conference hosted by the firm last month.
The news comes amidst increasing competition in auto markets worldwide, as legacy automakers and startups begin releasing their first few electric vehicles. A few examples of top competitors include Warren Buffett–backed BYD in China and Korea-based Hyundai. Still, Tesla remains the EV market share leader in many countries and most consider it well-poised to handle the influx of new options for consumers.
Tesla will most likely draw upon its most recent design refresh for the project, after it revamped the Model S design last year. Famously, the refreshed Model S design included the option for a polarizing airplane-style steering yoke. Additionally, the revamp included the removal of buttons and traditional air vents to create a more minimal interior look.
Some have also questioned whether the Highland Model 3 design will include a steering yoke like the Model S refresh, though the reports didn’t mention whether they would or not.
Tesla’s current Model 3 starts at $48,440 after gradually increasing in price over the past couple of years.
Originally posted on EVANNEX. By Peter McGuthrie.
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