Tesla fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the Model 3 Project Highland refresh, which is expected to make its debut in China next month. While the new version of the Model 3 is expected to contain some significant upgrades “under the hood”, a recent report suggests that this new iteration might feature a stripped-down version of Tesla’s Hardware 4.0 Full Self-Driving (FSD) computer.
According to X user @teslashanghai, the Model 3 Highland will likely be equipped with what was referred to as “HW 3.5,” putting it squarely between the current HW 3.0 computer and the more advanced Hardware 4.0 computer. While no further details were provided on what would make it 3.5 instead of 4.0, the X user did add that all radars are set to be removed, following a trend similar to the scaled back Hardware 4.0 computer recently introduced for the Model Y.
A recent teardown of the Model Y’s Hardware 4.0 computer by @greentheonly revealed a reduction in computing power, with half the memory of its Hardware 4.0 counterparts in the flagship Model S and Model X vehicles, and also less than the current HW 3.0 computer. This downgrade could be what led to the “HW 3.5” label. However, the Model 3 Highland will still come equipped with the new front bumper camera, a feature that will also be included with the upcoming Cybertruck.
The big question is why Tesla is introducing this fragmentation in its FSD hardware across models, and the answer is likely cost efficiency. The Model 3 Highland refresh is expected to reduce production costs and provide learnings for the next-generation model set to be built at Giga Mexico. The cost savings are attributed to several factors, including single-piece castings, reductions in wiring harnesses, and the use of new materials.