Update: ‘Release Date’ section updated.
The Tesla Model 3 is over five years old. The world’s best-selling electric sedan received a refresh in October 2020 and is likely to get another nip and tuck in 2023. In December 2022, Twitter user omg_tesla posted spy pictures of what looks like a test mule of a new 2024 Tesla Model 3. According to a Reuters report dated November 28, 2022, Tesla is developing a new Model 3 codenamed ‘Highland,’ and that’s probably the model seen in these photographs.
Citing a “trusted insider,” Not A Tesla App reported on March 21, 2023, that the new Model 3 will have differently shaped headlamps, a new front bumper that integrates a single camera in the central section of the air intake like on the Cybertruck, and a redesigned rear bumper. Plus, in what’ll be an unusual revision for a facelift, Tesla plans to make a minor change to the mirrors on the Model 3 with the update.
The picture you see above is the 2024 Tesla Model 3’s unofficial but accurate rendering, which auto illustrator Sugarchow created just a day after the front-end of the car leaked online in a new spy shot on Reddit. The revised car is visibly different from the outgoing model, and to a much greater degree than the media initially expected.
As previewed in the rendering, it has new, horizontal headlamps that are slim, shaped like those of the Model S, and have some next-gen Roadster cues in the graphics. A new, horizontal line at the top of the front-end and a more upswept horizontal line at the middle level, right above the air intake, provide the car a more conventional and sedated appearance. Tesla has skipped fog lights on the new car, adding to the cleaner look. The mirrors seem to be the same as those of the outgoing model, but we’ll wait to get a closer look before coming to a conclusion.
On April 15, 2023, Teslascope said on Twitter that the new spy picture floating on the web is of an Alpha prototype of the 2024 Model 3. Teslascope refers to a source who has seen the new Model 3 and they claim it features Model S-style headlights, a smooth bumper on the edges, where the outgoing car has fog lights, and a smoother air intake. The description matches our observations of the image.
The new Model 3 will feature three more cameras, one in the center of the front bumper that we just mentioned and two on the side profile. The two cameras on the side profile will be located in the same housing on the front fenders as the two rear-facing cameras carried over from the outgoing model. Not A Tesla App thinks the new cameras could be side-facing units, offering Tesla Autopilot a better understanding of the surroundings at some intersections.
Tesla will remove the Model 3’s temperature sensor with the upcoming update. The car will display the exterior temperature based on the GPS location using weather data. It won’t be possible to get a temperature reading of the exact location, say the garage where the car is parked. The company will improve the EV’s GPS module, so expect more accuracy.
Project Highland 👀 #Tesla #ProjectHighland pic.twitter.com/PuOJjFe1LL— The Kilowatts 🚗⚡️ (@klwtts) February 22, 2023
On February 23, 2023, The Kilowatts shared spy pictures of another new Tesla Model 3 test mule on Twitter. This unit also has tail lights that look similar to those of the outgoing car. However, it features elongated cutouts for the side Autopilot cameras extending back to the front doors. The housing of these cameras doesn’t look any different, though. This particular test car seems to have new double-spoke alloy wheels as well, but its aero covers for reducing wind resistance seem to have been removed to keep the complete design a secret until the official reveal.
Does the Model 3 need a refresh?
Tesla’s designs are beginning to age, and concurrently, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Polestar, and Chinese competitors are unveiling EVs with refreshing designs, some of which break ground in their segments. Just look at Hyundai’s Ioniq 6, Volkswagen’s ID.7, Polestar’s 4, Nio’s ET5, or BYD’s Seal, all of which have unique proportions and feel. This is also only the beginning of the onslaught as Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti and other brands will soon enter the segment, and add more flavors. For Tesla, facelifts and periodic updates would be a proactive measure in the face of rising competition from all parts of the world.
Reports and spy media indicate the 2024 Tesla Model 3 will have some substantial changes on the inside. On May 12, 2023, a new spy video footage of one of its test mules popped up on YouTube, revealing a new steering wheel. The new steering wheel is a three-spoke unit, just like that of the outgoing model, but it looks sleeker and more elegant. It looks inspired by the Tesla Semi‘s steering wheel.
Tesla will redesign the dashboard of the Model 3 with the upcoming update, as per Not A Tesla App’s intel. The company will stop using wood trim, possibly replacing it with Alcantara. According to Teslascope’s source, it will change the seats of the car as well. Previously, Twitter user Chris Zheng said in a post on February 15, 2023, that the company plans to stop using wood decor panel on the dashboard beginning with the refresh.
Zheng usually shares insider updates from Tesla and has a good track record of getting them right. The wood-style finish doesn’t pair well with the sporty character and all-black interior color in the Performance variant, so the deletion of the wood trim could be a welcome change for some customers. Zheng said ABS-bonded foam non-woven fabric would instead cover the interior.
The Model 3 could download some goodies from the Model S. If Tesla has planned a deep update, it could install a new instrument cluster, a steering yoke, and a new, rotating touchscreen infotainment system, and improve the quality of materials.
There’s no word on the technical updates in the 2024 Tesla Model 3 except for Reuters claiming that some powertrain changes are in order. The current Model 3 comes in three variants in the U.S.: Standard Range RWD, Long Range AWD, and Performance AWD. These have a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds, 4.2 seconds, and 3.1 seconds, and can attain a top speed of 140 mph, 145 mph, and 162 mph, respectively. Their EPA-est. range is 267 – 272 miles, 334 – 358 miles, and 315 miles, respectively.
Tesla could be targeting a maximum EPA-est. range of 375 miles in the 2024 Model 3 Long Range AWD variant. The company has put new orders for the Model 3 Long Range AWD on pause, saying it will reopen the books in 2023.
According to a Bloomberg report dated June 1, 2023, Musk visited Gigafactory Shanghai on May 31, 2023, and saw prototypes of the 2024 Tesla Model 3 there. The updated car’s trial production hasn’t started and its public reveal is some time away, adds the report. We think the official reveal could take place in Q3 2023 (July-September 2023).
Production of the outgoing Model 3 at Gigafactory Shanghai has hit a stop (via YouTube). The Chinese factory is speculated to be gearing up for the production of the new Model 3. There was a rumor that production of the facelifted car will start in June 2023, but Tesla China denied there’s any truth to that speculation. Then again, Tesla China has denied rumors which later turned out to be true in the past. Meanwhile, the Model Y continues to be in production at Gigafactory Shanghai.
We expect the Fremont Factory to begin manufacturing the 2024 Tesla Model 3 this summer. Deliveries of the new car in the U.S. may commence by August or September 2023.
Tesla is preparing for the new Model 3 production at the Fremont factory with the codename ‘Project Highland’ since mid-2021, Teslarati reported on January 29, 2023. The company has knocked down the outgoing Model 3’s assembly line, internally called ‘Hang On Lines,’ and is going ahead with the installation of manufacturing equipment for the new Model 3. While production preparations go on at the American plant, testing is still underway, with prototypes spotted on Californian streets in January 2023.
Tesla may price the new Model 3 close to the outgoing car, starting from around USD 41,000. For reference, the latter begins at USD 40,240. The company gave its cars some big price hikes in 2021 and 2022, and it’s now trying to offset the same with rollbacks. On May 16, 2023, during Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3’s total ownership cost – USD 0.49/mi – is now comparable to that of a Toyota Corolla (USD 0.46/mi).
The Tesla Model 3 is already the best-selling electric car in its segment, and with updates, it should get more appealing, and ward off incoming all-electric sedans like the Hyundai Ioniq 6, the VW ID.7 and the U.S.-made 2025 Nissan EV that are trying to eat its lunch. Featuring a sharper design, new electronics, improved quality, and an enhanced powertrain, the refreshed Model 3 could be a slightly more upmarket product and maybe even more efficient.
2024 Tesla Model 3 FAQs
What is the 2024 Tesla Model 3 release date?
The 2024 Tesla Model 3 should go on sale in the U.S. in Q3 2023 (July-September 2023).
What will be the 2024 Tesla Model 3 price?
The 2024 Tesla Model 3 could cost around USD 41,000 onwards.
Which cars will be 2024 Tesla Model 3 rivals?
The new Model 3 will rival the Polestar 2 & Hyundai Ioniq 6.
Featured Image Source: Instagram/Sugardesign_1