Tesla Model 3 'Project Highland' Sounds So Bad That People Rush To Order the Current Model

People have mixed feelings about the upcoming Tesla Model 3 lineup refresh, known internally as Project Highland. Many worry that the new Model 3 will be s stripped-down version of what we know today and rush to place orders for the current model.
Tesla Model 3 "Project Highland" 6 photos
Photo: u/ffiarpg via Reddit | Edited
Tesla Model 3 "Project Highland" renderingFirst glimpse inside the refreshed Model 3 cockpitFirst glimpse inside the refreshed Model 3 cockpitNew Tesla Model 3 “Project Highland” prototype spotted in the wildNew Tesla Model 3 “Project Highland” prototype spotted in the wild
Last year, we discovered that Tesla is preparing a well-deserved update to the Model 3. The base model is not selling as it used to, with Model Y making up the bulk of Tesla deliveries. Tesla has already tried to make it more attractive with price cuts without much success. This is intriguing, as the Model 3 is among the most affordable EVs on the market, selling for around $35,000 when factoring in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credit and other local incentives. Considering its performance, range, and extensive Supercharger network, finding a better EV for the money is impossible.

Tesla believes a refresh could help energize sales, although this hasn't worked miracles for the Model S/Model X duo. The two models at the top of Tesla's lineup have a steep price, which makes them hard to sell in the current economic conditions. The Model 3, on the other hand, might have a shot at becoming more popular. The prototypes we've seen testing on public roads didn't appear much different than the current model. Subtle changes were spotted on the sides with the repeater camera housing and the front bonnet design.

Still, the first leaked picture revealed a handsome Model 3, despite the changes being mostly cosmetic. Many liked the appearance of the refreshed Model 3, although even more decried the obvious cost-cutting measures. For instance, the prototype lacked fog lights, prompting many to question whether the upcoming model would be worth waiting for. We know that Tesla is considering production optimizations and cuts instead of new features. In other words, this is an update made for Tesla, not its customers.

This was confirmed in recent prototype sightings, which brought more cuts into the spotlight. The cabin will be modified to save some bucks, replacing the interior wood trims with cheaper versions. A real disappointment was to see the stalks disappear, something that also happened to the Model S and Model X. In a video shot at the Fremont test track, the driver clearly touches the screen before starting in Reverse.

It's intriguing why Tesla would risk alienating its customer base with questionable decisions. Although it showed with the yoke steering that it can walk back some bad choices, this usually happens too late, when the change doesn't even matter. For the most part, people have made up their minds and are already considering any update worse than the original. This is obvious if you scout social media, with many considering placing an order now before Tesla takes away more features.

The 2022 Model 3 form before Tesla removed the ultrasonic sensors is still the sweet spot for most. From then on, it was all cuts, with more projected to affect Project Highland. We have already learned that the new model will not reinstate ultrasonic sensors and will have no additional cameras. Instead, it will drop other sensors, such as the exterior temperature and humidity sensor. Understandably, people don't want a refreshed Model 3, even though it will come with the Hardware 4 FSD computer and the new sensors.
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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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