Telsa Introduces the New Model 3 Highland: Exciting Features and Redesigned Look
Tesla has officially unveiled its much-anticipated refresh of the Model 3, codenamed "Project Highland," shortly after leaked photos surfaced. This update encompasses significant changes, including a revamped front-end design, interior enhancements, and extended range. Tesla claims that over half of the vehicle's components have been replaced, although specific metrics are unclear.
The most noticeable change is the redesigned front end, which retains the Model 3's overall appearance but streamlines the front, eliminating the somewhat protruding bump seen in the current version. The headlights have become slimmer and more aggressive, aligning with the aim of a sleeker look.
Tesla reports that the Model 3 Highland will offer increased range, with WLTP ratings indicating 344 miles for the SR RWD version and 421 miles for the LR with 18" aero wheels. These figures represent an 11-12% improvement compared to the current Model 3's WLTP ratings. It's important to note that these are WLTP figures, which tend to be higher than US EPA ratings. When converted, this could mean around 300 miles for the SR and 370 miles for the LR in EPA ratings, although Tesla's range claims have faced scrutiny in the past.
The extended range in Model 3 Highland primarily results from improved aerodynamics, with a redesigned front end that enhances airflow around the vehicle. The new aerodynamic profile, boasting a Cd of .219 (down from .225 in the current Model 3), alone contributes to a 5-8% range improvement. Additionally, new wheel cover inserts strike a balance between aesthetics and range, as they can significantly increase efficiency.
Model 3 Highland interior changes are also notable:
- A new rear 8-inch touchscreen provides rear passengers with climate control and entertainment options.
- Stalks on the steering column have been eliminated, similar to the Model S and Model X, with gear selection now on the touchscreen and turn signal buttons on the steering wheel's left side.
- Front seats are ventilated and controllable via Tesla's app, allowing pre-conditioning of the seats.
- Rear seats are now perforated but lack ventilation.
- The sound system has been upgraded to 17 speakers from 14.
- Improvements in Bluetooth microphone performance and better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
- A quieter interior due to aerodynamic and material changes.
- Customizable interior ambient lighting.
- A larger rear trunk, now up to 594 liters from 561.
These changes are already live on Tesla's European websites, and orders are being accepted with deliveries slated to start in October for left-hand drive markets in Europe and the Middle East. Tesla has not yet announced delivery dates for North America or right-hand drive markets like the UK. Pricing for North America is also pending.
This refresh appears more extensive than expected, with not only the anticipated front-end changes but also substantial interior revisions. While some changes have been well-received, like the extended range and improved interior features, there are reservations about the new steering wheel design and gear selection via the touchscreen. Overall, the Model 3 remains an exceptional vehicle, and Tesla's manufacturing improvements should minimize potential early-model glitches.