Facelifted Tesla Model 3 rendered

Facelifted Tesla Model 3 rendered

Fresh exterior design, upgraded interior, new batteries and price cuts on the cards for mid-size electric sedan’s imminent facelift

The launch of the refreshed Tesla Model 3 is so close you can almost smell it.

First launched in 2017, the mid-size electric sedan has been Australia’s top-selling EV since its local launch in late 2019, at least until the closely-related Model Y medium SUV arrived in mid-2022.

Also aided by freer supplies from China, the Model Y has gone on to become not only the nation’s favourite EV but medium SUV so far this year, with 17,332 units sold to July this year, followed by the Model 3 with 12,179 registrations.

But now the Tesla Model 3 is being attacked from all angles – especially by cheaper EVs from Chinese car-makers – and so the US EV-maker’s only global sedan is set to power up its appeal with its first major facelift, bringing upgrades to its exterior design, cabin, infotainment and even batteries.

And if the 2024 Tesla Model 3 – dubbed Project Highland – looks like this 3D render from LaMianDesign, it’ll be a sell-out success.

There’s also talk of a more affordable, stripped-back Tesla Model 3 variant aimed at cementing the mid-size four-door EV’s dominant position as the world’s second-best selling EV in 2022 and, so far, 2023.

There have been countless sightings of the upgraded Model 3 undergoing testing while camouflaged in China, the US and, just this week, a German autobahn. And there’s mounting other evidence the so-called Project Highland Tesla Model 3 is about to be officially revealed.

Chinese Tesla showrooms has reportedly already started taking pre-orders of ¥1000 ($AU212) for the rejuvenated Model 3, while other Chinese reports insist the updated EV entered trial production at the Shanghai Gigafactory earlier this month, ahead of volume assembly and first deliveries next month.

Tesla isn’t giving away anything at this stage, but as the body of evidence around an imminent reveal continues to grow, controversial company CEO Elon Musk is likely to strut onto the stage to reveal his latest vehicle in a matter of days – not weeks.

The facelifted Tesla Model 3 is expected to bring several meaningful changes, led by slimmer LED headlights and revised tail-lights with vertical – instead of horizontal – LED indicators, alongside re-sculpted front and rear bumpers.

Inside, an updated interior is expected to deliver big improvements via new seats, a simpler infotainment layout, ambient lighting and a host of other tech advances.

These could include improved smartphone connectivity, GPS satellite-navigation and the adoption of three new cameras designed to enhance the car’s controversial autonomous driving functionality.

Cost-cutting measures are expected to see components like the ambient temperature sensor ditched, while the Model 3’s dashboard will be simpler to construct and the woodgrain trim will be swapped out for faux-suede, like the Model Y, to make it cheaper to build.

Other unconfirmed upgrades to the 2024 Tesla Model 3 include better storage solutions and, on top-spec Performance grades, adaptive air suspension and more powerful e-motors.

New battery packs from leading Chinese battery developer CATL have also been mooted, which will reportedly increase energy density from 60kWh to 66kWh via the adoption of lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) cells.

These would replace the lithium iron phosphate batteries used in the current Model 3 and could increase driving range to more than 600km for entry-level Model 3 single-motor RWD variants.

Perhaps the most intriguing proposition is the potential addition of an all-new, price-leading Tesla Model 3 ‘core’ variant, which would be positioned below the base Model 3 RWD that opens the current range at $57,400 plus on-road costs.

Stay tuned for more details soon.

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