Tesla Model 3 Highland May Be Announced; Performance option under development

Tesla Model 3 Highland May Be Announced; Performance option under development

Tesla appears to be set to roll out the new Tesla Model 3 for the North American market after sighting several refreshed versions, also known as Highland, at the Fremont factory. The vehicle successfully debuted in other global markets late last year, including Europe, China, and parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

Tesla may announce the start of Model 3 Highland deliveries as early as this month because the company’s Q4 and Full Year 2023 earnings call is on January 24th. That would provide an ideal platform for the official announcement and garner a lot of attention.

Sightings and Speculations

Before the dawn of 2024, the Model 3 Highland was seen multiple times across the U.S., as posted on Reddit. This further fueled speculation about its North American debut. Tesla owner Matthew Donegan-Ryan shared photos of a Model 3 Highland at the Fremont Factory, featuring Shanghai badges but a VIN indicating Californian manufacture. These sightings suggest that Tesla is preparing for the North American market and potentially for other markets.

Tesla’s Model 3 Highland has already made waves in markets like China, Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe, and the United Arab Emirates since its launch in August 2023. However, it was conspicuously absent in the North American market. While the company did go over its expected deliveries in 2023, there’s no doubt that many buyers are waiting for the latest design and technology that the refreshed Model 3 offers.

Performance Model

The performance variant of the Model 3 Highland has yet to be revealed, but rumors suggest that production has also started on this variant. It’s possible that it may even debut in North America first. The performance trim level is expected more unique than it was in its previous incarnation, with reports saying it’ll be “pretty special.” Instead of just including binned motors and an improved suspension and brakes, the new performance model is expected to stand out against its Long Range counterpart. Tesla is also expected to launch the new Model 3 in North America with a front bumper camera like the Cybertruck.

Model 3 Advancements

Cybertruck has been stealing all the headlines in North America for several months; you may need a refresher of everything the refreshed Model 3 offers. The range has increased by 11 to 12 percent, which equates to the rear-wheel drive getting 346 miles (554 kilometers) and the dual motor long-range getting 423 miles (678 kilometers). This is thanks to several things, including the lighter Model 3, now the most aerodynamic Tesla in the lineup at a stunning 0.219 drag coefficient down from 0.225.

The upgraded suspension provides a more premium ride with new springs & dampers, new geometry on the front suspension, new bushings, and a new way to mount the subframe to the chassis. Moreover, the tires now have more cushioning for an improved ride.

Tesla has made a 30% decrease in wind and ambient noise, a 25% improvement in impact noise, and a 20% improvement in road noise. This has been achieved by using acoustic glass on the rear and back windows (it was only on the front windows before), resulting in “360º acoustic glass”. Additionally, more sound insulation has been added for a quieter ride. However, you won’t be able to hear the silent thanks to the new 17-speaker sound system, up from 14 speakers — complete with two subwoofers and two amplifiers.

The list is endless. The introduction of the U.S.-spec Model 3 Highland couldn’t be more timely, especially considering the current list of EVs eligible for the $7,500 tax credit. With the non-facelifted Model 3 and Model Y variants already enjoying this benefit, the arrival of the Model 3 Highland is poised to impact Tesla’s market presence and consumer choices significantly.

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