Right-Hand-Drive Tesla Model 3 Performance Prototype Spotted With Intriguing Details

RHD Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype spotted in San Francisco 6 photos
Photo: @klwtts, @DavidAdler4 via X
RHD Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype spotted in San FranciscoRHD Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype spotted in San FranciscoRHD Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype spotted in San FranciscoRHD Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype spotted in San FranciscoOlder Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype
Rumors indicate that the refreshed Model 3 Performance trial production is underway at the Tesla Fremont factory, with delivery likely starting in the second quarter. A new prototype was spotted in San Francisco, and it was, surprisingly, a right-hand-drive M3P.
Tesla launched the refreshed Model 3 in Europe and Asia last September, with the US variant quietly unveiled on January 9. The revamped model brings new features and better quality while allowing Tesla to save in a few key areas. On the plus side, people praised the refreshing design, upgraded audio system with rear-seat entertainment, and improved comfort thanks to new suspension and sound insulation. On the other hand, few cheered at the turn-signal stalk's disappearance.

Financially, the refreshed Model 3 is a mixed bag. On the one hand, Tesla kept the same prices as the outgoing model. If you're an optimist, you'd probably consider this a free upgrade. Still, there's a downside because the Model 3 is no longer eligible for the IRA tax credit. This is because of the IRS's tighter rules of origin, signaling that Tesla is probably importing battery materials used in the Model 3 battery packs from China.

The Performance trim is the only Model 3 variant that will still qualify for the tax credit. There's no official word about its availability, but earlier rumors claim that trial production is already underway at Tesla Fremont. The same sources are fairly certain that Tesla Model 3 Performance deliveries might start in the second quarter or earlier. Until then, Tesla is using the time to fine-tune the Performance variant.

We've seen several Performance prototypes tested on public roads, some even before the US-spec Highland was unveiled. Back then, people were puzzled as to why Tesla would keep the camo on a model already revealed in other parts of the world. It turned out those were no ordinary Model 3 prototypes, and they had more to hide than people imagined. Redesigned spoilers were our best guess, and it appears that Tesla will indeed offer a distinctive design to the sportiest Model 3.

So far, there are confusing signals among Tesla leaksters, some even claiming Tesla might offer more than one sport trim in the Model 3 lineup. What is certain is that we've already seen at least three versions of the sporty Model 3, and the latest one had a more aggressive front spoiler than all others. Although the previous prototypes had the front and rear spoilers wrapped in plastic, they did not look much different from the regular Model 3 on sale worldwide.

The latest sighting was spotted in San Francisco and was, intriguingly, a right-hand-drive model. This is interesting because Tesla is unlikely to build such a variant in North America. Instead, RHD markets are supplied from Giga Shanghai. Still, it isn't that unusual, considering that Tesla also tested the Model 3 Highland in the US before the September unveiling. That happened even though the development was mostly done in China, and the production first started at Giga Shanghai.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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