Tesla is always making continuous improvements to its vehicles, not waiting for the typical model year changes that come about from legacy automakers. Every few years that is not the case though as Tesla vehicles undergo a more substantial “refresh” that involves some interior and exterior design updates.
The last Model 3 refresh took place in 2020, but the automaker is currently working on the electric sedan’s next iteration which is currently set to be released in Q3 2023.
According to several sources that spoke with Reuters, the refresh is codenamed ‘Project Highland’, and involves simplifying the Model 3s design with fewer components to cut production costs.
The report did not provide many other details of the refresh, other than saying it will build on the most recent refresh to the Model S and Model X, although it was not confirmed if it will include the yoke steering wheel.
It was also stated in the report that Project Highland will likely include some exterior design updates as well. Drive Tesla can confirm this as we have seen some images of the refresh design, in particular the new wheel designs.
In order to protect the identity of our source, we can’t publish the images but the biggest change with the new 18″ and 19″ wheels is that they are both finished in matte black, as opposed to the gray and silver used for the current wheels.
The 18″ wheel design is similar to the current Aero wheels, but the spokes come out of the center of the wheel at more of an angle than they do now.
The design of the 19″ Sport wheels is also similar to the current Sport wheels, but the spokes are not as “flat” as the current design and are more similar to the first generation Sport wheels in that respect.
It should be noted that we received these images over the summer and the designs could very well change by the time the refresh is released next year.
While Reuters is reporting the existence of Project Highland now, Tesla has been working on it for close to a year. As mentioned above we received the images of the new wheels several months ago, and as far back as March Tesla suppliers have been involved in Project Highland.
Supply chain source shows that Tesla has a mysterious model internally code-named highland. German Tier 1 supplier ZF participated in the design of the passive safety unit of this model. Anyone knows more about it ？
— Chris Zheng (@ChrisZheng001) March 6, 2022