A Tesla Model 3 prototype with a refreshed design under camouflage has been spotted sporting new wheels.
Late last year, we started hearing rumors that Tesla is working on a Model 3 refresh that would come during the second half of 2023.
The project is reportedly codenamed “Highland.”
For a few years now, Tesla has been integrating its large casting technology into Model Y with single large casting parts replacing dozens of parts in the electric SUV.
This new technology has enabled Tesla to greatly improve manufacturing efficiency with the Model Y compared to Model 3. CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla will bring the same technology to the Model 3 eventually, but he couldn’t exactly say when.
The problem is that such an update to the Model 3 would temporarily slow down production, and Tesla couldn’t afford that while it was still ramping up Model Y production. However, Model Y production is now starting to exceed Model 3 production, and it could be good timing for Tesla to update the Model 3 using the technology.
In December, a Model 3 prototype with heavy camouflage was spotted being tested in California.
Another prototype was spotted earlier this month as Tesla is expected to be closer to releasing the vehicle.
With the heavy camouflage on the front and back of those prototypes, it has been hard to identify any specific change to the Model 3.
Now another Model 3 prototype has been spotted, and it again features heavy camouflage on the front and back:
But this time, we can see a change in the vehicle: the wheels. This prototype features new wheels that have never been seen on a Tesla vehicle before.
They appear to be new 18″ aero wheels without the aero cap.
Unlike Tesla’s current aero wheel design, the spokes come into the center at different angles. If the wheel itself has changed, it’s likely that Tesla also changed the design of the aero caps, but those haven’t been spotted yet.
It’s not clear when Tesla plans to announce the new updated Model 3, but more details could be released on Investor Day next week as the automaker is expected to give a product roadmap update.