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Elon Musk Gives A subtle Nod To Tesla’s Upcoming Model 3 Refresh Dubbed Project Highland

For months now there have been speculations that Tesla is working on a refresh to the Model 3 and has codenamed the project "Highland." However, today, although subtle, we have received our first confirmation regarding project Highland from Elon Musk.

For a few months now there have been reports claiming that Tesla is working on a refreshed Model 3 under the codename Project Highland. This rumor first appeared on November 2022 when Reuters reported Tesla is readying a refresh to the Model 3.

Reuters said it received the information from 4 individuals with knowledge of Tesla’s plans. Besides revealing Tesla’s internal codename for the Model 3 refresh is project “Highland”, Reuters has also added some details regarding the changes coming to the Model 3.

At the time Reuters stated “one focus of the redesign codenamed "Highland" is to reduce the number of components and complexity in the interior of the Model 3 while focusing on features that Tesla buyers value, including the display, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the revamp has not been announced.”

Reuters hasn’t stated exactly what sorts of changes we can expect to the Model 3 interior besides mentioning that the Model 3 refresh “builds on the revamp of the Model S.”

Most of the changes Tesla made to the refreshed Model S/X interior are to bring them in line with the Model 3 & Y which included changing the center screen from horizontal to vertical and giving the Model S/X air vents similar to their smaller brethren.

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However, one change Tesla has made to the refreshed Model S/X interior which is not found on the Model 3 & Y is the addition of a second screen for rear passengers. And it appears that with this refresh, Tesla is likely looking to add a second screen to the Model 3.

And this speculation, besides Reuters specifically reporting the Model 3 refresh will focus on the display, is further corroborated by earlier findings that the Model 3 and Y AMD media control units have a currently not-in-use connector in the MCU marked as “2nd display.”

Besides the interior, Reuters had also reported with project Highland Tesla is looking to make changes to the powertrain, performance, and exterior of the Model 3. As of now, we don’t have any information regarding the possible changes coming to the powertrain and performance, however, currently, the fact that Tesla is working on exterior changes to the Model 3 is all but confirmed.

This is due to multiple sightings of covered Model 3s Tesla has been testing out in the wild. The covered vehicles were not only spotted near Tesla’s design studio but also had manufacturer plates giving no doubt that they are the property of Tesla.

Changes to the Model 3 interior, powertrain, performance, and exterior are certainly exciting, however, with project highland, Tesla’s main focus for the Model 3 refresh seems to be cutting the production cost of the all-electric sedan by reducing components and complexity of the vehicle.

Reuters reports “Musk has pushed a simplified approach to design and production at Tesla that the Highland project extends, said the people with knowledge of the development.”

Currently, Tesla uses 6000-ton Giga Presses to build the front and rear chassis of the Model Y as single pieces. Using the Giga Press has allowed Tesla to decrease the parts that make up the rear body of the Model Y from 120 to 1.

This enables Tesla to eliminate several welding robots from the production line, decrease the footprint of the factory, and decrease manufacturing time, complexity, and assembly errors.

Having a single-piece rear body as opposed to 120 also makes the Mode Y lighter, stiffer, and simply an overall better product but at a cheaper price.

Given all these advantages it seems likely that the main focus of project Highland is to bring giga castings to the Model 3. This should improve the range and performance of the Model 3 while at the same time decreasing the price.

And as nuggets of information keep trickling out giving us better insight into Tesla’s Highland project, today we have received yet another hint that confirms Tesla is indeed working on a Model 3 refresh and from none other than Elon Musk himself.

Recently, the first pictures of the production beta Cybertruck being driven around Tesla’s design studio have been circulating all over the internet. Musk has seen these pictures and has confirmed that they are indeed that of the final design of the Cybertruck.

And in one of the images showing the Cybertruck, the futuristic truck is pictured at Tesla’s design studio parked next to a couple of Model 3s with covered rears to presumably conceal the upcoming changes to the all-electric sedan.

A Twitter user then commented by writing “Cybertruck and Project Highland parked next to it. This is going to be another exciting year for Tesla.” And to all our delight Musk has liked this tweet.

Although subtle, this all but confirms that Tesla is indeed working on a refresh to the Model 3 and has codenamed the project Highland.

The promise of project Highland is certainly exciting, up to now, this is all the information we have on the Model 3 refresh, however, we will be sure to keep you posted when we learn more about Tesla’s future plans.

Until then make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

So what do you think? Excited by the prospects of project Highland? What changes do you like to see on the Model 3? Also, what do you make of Elon Musk liking a tweet referencing project Highland? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image: Courtesy of Tesla

For more information check out: Model Y Prices Continue To Go Up: The Data Says This Will Keep Happening

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.