Undisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland Spotted in California Still Comes From China

Undisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland spotted in California 6 photos
Photo: u/No_Regular_8542 via Reddit
Undisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland spotted in CaliforniaUndisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland spotted in CaliforniaUndisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland spotted in CaliforniaUndisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland spotted in CaliforniaUndisguised Tesla Model 3 Highland spotted in California
Tesla unveiled the refreshed Model 3 in China on September 1, and the sales started in Europe, China, and other markets, but there's no sign of a US launch happening soon. Several undisguised prototypes have been spotted testing in California, but they are still built at Giga Shanghai instead of Fremont.
Tesla Model 3 Highland garnered a lot of interest, briefly becoming Tesla's most talked about model in the past two years. The hype has mostly subsided since it was officially (albeit quietly) unveiled in China on September 1, and the Model Y is again the most-searched Tesla model. That's not to say that people forgot about the refreshed Model 3, which is still eagerly awaited in the US. Although customers in China and Europe can already order the refreshed model, Americans are left in the dark about a possible launch date.

For now, the Model 3 Highland is only produced at Giga Shanghai, and Tesla is busy ramping up production and shipping the cars throughout the world. The Model 3 will also start production at Tesla Fremont once the new production line is complete. Highland prototypes have been spotted testing in the US for quite some time, although most of them were covered in heavy cladding front and rear.

A lucky encounter on September 13 put a Tesla driver face-to-face with the refreshed Model 3 for a few seconds, and the sighting made the rounds on X (formerly Twitter). The grainy images were extracted from the Dashcam footage, which explains the low-quality video. The sighting got Tesla fans excited, as the car had no camo, a US-first. Many thought the car on camera was produced in the US and hoped the official launch would not be far away.

On October 11, another Model 3 Highland car (or was it the same?) was seen cruising on a highway in the Bay Area, but instead of causing more hype, it almost disappointed. This time, the stalker was driving in the same direction and could snap several pictures, offering more details than the September encounter. The most obvious: this Model 3 had California manufacturer plates, which would've been enough to raise hopes. Unfortunately, the Chinese lettering on the tailgate revealed that this car was not only made in China but was initially destined for the Chinese market.

This finding means that the Highland production at Fremont has not yet started, and it's not even in the calibration stage. Hopes to have the refreshed Model 3 delivered in the US this year are slim to none, although Tesla has a record of surprising everyone with unexpected decisions. However, Highland prototypes at Giga Shanghai were seen long before the refreshed Model 3 launched in China. There were no such sightings at Fremont yet, so I guess it won't happen soon.

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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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