Saturday, May 18, 2024

“Tesla Model 3 Highland: Unveiling the New Design and Surprising Features”

After leaked images of the upcoming Tesla Model 3 refresh with the codename ‘Project Highland’ surfaced just a few hours ago, Tesla has officially unveiled its highly anticipated facelift for the European market.

The refresh includes a ‘facelifted’ front-end design, internal changes such as more screen real estate (including a new rear display), and an extended range. Tesla claims that the refresh alters over half of the vehicle’s components, though we’re not entirely sure how they measure that.

The most noticeable change is the clearly updated design, which maintains the overall look of the current Model 3 but tweaks the front end for a sleeker appearance. It removes some of the bulbousness from the front corners of the current Model 3’s front end. We had seen this front end in a leaked image back in April, and it appears to be the real deal now. We now have official images from Tesla to give you a full view of the changes.

These images showcase a new ‘Ultra Red’ color option instead of the current Multicoat Red. However, this color might be exclusive to Europe, so we’ll have to wait for more information from Tesla on that front. Headlights have also been redesigned to appear sharper and more aggressive in making the front end of the vehicle.

Tesla claims that the refreshed vehicle will have an extended range, with 344 miles WLTP for the SR RWD version and 421 miles WLTP for the LR, both rated with 18″ Aero Wheels. These figures represent an 11-12% improvement over the current Model 3 WLTP ratings. Please note that these are WLTP numbers, so they will be higher than the EPA numbers when they are released. If we expect a similar 11-12% improvement, we might see around ~300 miles EPA range for SR and ~370 miles for LR. Tesla has faced criticism for inflating vehicle range, so these figures should be taken with a grain of salt.This extended range comes primarily from aerodynamic improvements due to the less bulbous front end, which better directs air around the vehicle. This has resulted in a Cd of .219, which is Tesla’s lowest yet (current Model 3 is below .225), translating to a 5-8% range improvement.

Another change is the new wheel cover inserts that compromise between larger-looking wheels and greater range desires among consumers. Aerodynamic wheel inserts can significantly boost range, but some people prefer the appearance of wheels without caps (personally, I disagree, but it’s whatever floats your boat).


Tesla Model 3 a Significant List of Interior Changes :-

– A new rear 8-inch touchscreen, offering climate control and entertainment for rear-seat passengers.
– Steering column stalks have been removed, similar to the Model S and X, with gear selection now on the touchscreen and turn signal buttons on the left side of the steering wheel.
– Ventilated front seats, which can be controlled remotely via Tesla’s phone app to heat or cool them before getting in.
– Flushing rear seats (now contoured but not ventilated like the front seats).
– Sound system upgraded to 17 speakers (from 14).
– Bluetooth microphone performance improved.
– Better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for router and phone key use.
– Several changes in aero and materials resulting in a much quieter interior.
– Ambient interior lighting.
– Larger front trunk, from 561 to 594 liters.

The changes are now live on Tesla’s European sites, where the refreshed Model 3 is available for order. Deliveries for left-hand drive markets in Europe and the Middle East start in October (just after Tesla’s shameless FSD transfer scheme ends). Tesla has not yet announced when deliveries will begin for North America (or right-hand drive markets like the UK). We do not have pricing information for North America yet, but for reference, in Norway, the SR version is priced the same as before, and the LR is 10,000 NOK (~$941 USD) more expensive. There’s no word on the pricing of the Performance Highland version yet.

Electrek’s Take

We’ve been expecting this update for quite some time, but now that we see it, it’s more extensive than we thought.

The changes to the front end are well highlighted, but the interior overhaul is much more than we expected.

The use of the screen for gear selection, in particular, looks somewhat odd – though that command isn’t used as frequently as the turn signal, so it’s not as intrusive for me.

And, lest you think I’m a complete fool, remember that in our original Model 3 review, I pointed out almost everything about the car, including some changes that many people found weird. This was an extraordinary vehicle and is, and the Highland changes don’t alter that.

We’ll have to wait and see if changing over 50% of the car’s components results in some teething issues with early production versions, but Tesla has had decent initial performance since day one, so hopefully, it won’t be too bad. Certainly, my early Model 3 (VIN ~2500) has mostly been trouble-free (excluding the smelly feet air conditioning issue – we’ll see if Tesla finally fixed that with the Highland version).”

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