Tesla Model 3 Highland Update

Tesla Model 3 Highland Update: Too Little, Too Late?

Tesla recently implemented a $5,500 price reduction on its inventory of Model 3 units, signaling the imminent unveiling of Project Highland, a long-awaited redesign of its most affordable car. While some headlines have emphasized the impressive 421-mile (678-kilometer) WLTP range disclosed by the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, it raises questions about whether this refresh is too little, too late.

Owners of the previous Model 3 iteration quickly raised concerns about the absence of foglights. Had they met the same fate as ultrasonic sensors? Some clarified that the foglights had been relocated to the headlights, prompting speculation about their effectiveness. Foglights are typically positioned low for a reason – to provide optimal ground illumination in misty conditions. This change appears to prioritize cost-cutting.

Tesla Model 3 Highland Update
Tesla Model 3 Highland Update

Tesla also eliminated the traditional stalks, opting for the same system found in the Model S and X. This means shifting gears can now only be accomplished via the central screen, a cost-saving measure that has left some drivers struggling to adapt.

In 2020, the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany, held a Model 3 driver responsible for an accident, ruling that using the touchscreen while driving was akin to operating an electronic device such as a tablet or smartphone and should only be done when the vehicle was stationary. This decision stemmed from an incident in which a Model 3 driver attempted to adjust the windshield wiper speed and ended up colliding with an embankment and trees. Fortunately, no injuries occurred. The Model 3 Highland concentrates even more functions on the single screen.

The taillights have been redesigned to be smaller and simpler, presumably for cost-effectiveness. However, the absence of mega castings on the electric sedan suggests that Tesla’s primary focus with Project Highland may have been cost savings rather than technological innovation.

The Model Y already incorporates these components, and the upcoming Cybertruck will follow suit. Therefore, it was a plausible opportunity for Tesla to introduce mega castings to the Model 3, potentially reducing manufacturing costs. However, the decision not to do so may indicate either skepticism about mega castings or a need to address quality control concerns before scaling up production.

Even the touted range improvement comes under scrutiny, particularly in light of recent reports. In July, Reuters revealed that Elon Musk had instructed all Tesla vehicles to display their maximum achievable range regardless of real-world conditions. This led to significant discrepancies, with accurate range figures only appearing after roughly half of the charge had been depleted. Several Tesla customers subsequently filed lawsuits against the company. If the Model 3 could genuinely achieve a 421-mile range on a full charge, it would surpass the Model S in range, even according to WLTP standards. However, this range value was established using the WLTP cycle, which is considered more generous but also more reliable for comparison.

In summary, Tesla’s efforts with the Model 3 refresh appear to have prioritized cost reduction over substantial improvements. Some Tesla enthusiasts have drawn parallels with Volkswagen’s original Beetle, which saw minimal changes over several decades before being discontinued. If this is Tesla’s plan for the Model 3, it may result in incremental updates for an extended period.

Similar Posts