The Tesla Model 3 was introduced back in 2017; the Fremont plant hosted the international presentation and the first deliveries were sent to customers of the most affordable, access model of the brand. More than five years have passed, and apparently Tesla thinks it is about time for the saloon model to catch up, as its older brothers (Model X, Model S) have already done. The restyling will be accompanied by some aesthetic and mechanical modifications that require an update on the assembly lines as well; in that sense, the Fremont Gigafactory has already started preparations to host production very soon.
These preparations include robot manipulaters, automation and welding equipment, and new specialized assembly tools. In addition, Tesla is also testing the installation of robotics for subassembly operations on the side. This may be done to maximize the automation of the processes and reduce costs, as the company has already done in the past.
At the moment it is unknown exactly what changes the new Model 3 will have, although most experts assume there will be slight cosmetic tweaks and mechanical innovations as well. As far as design is concerned, this week the first spy photos of the new Tesla Model 3 have come to light. Covered with canvases that make it impossible to find out about its final design, it is clear that the general structure will not change, but that there will be changes in the bumpers and headlights. Nothing too notorious or significant, as has already happened with the renewals of the Tesla Model S and Model X.
There will also be news about the interior part of the car. Although the technology has not evolved much since the Model 3 was originally launched, it is assumed that Tesla workers have an ace up their sleeve. Materials and finishes should focus almost all the attention, as it is certain that the current presentation will be maintained with the single screen system; a screen that will receive an update to show the new features implemented in the car. Rear passengers are not expected to receive their own screen though, as the most expensive models in the house do.
At a mechanical level, a great revolution is not expected either: Tesla will continue to bet on its current range, although tweaks in performance and power are not ruled out; for instance, the chemistry of the batteries will not change, nor their the size. It is also possible that new performance versions will be added, as has already happened with the Model S and Model X Plaid. The birth of new rivals like the BMW i4 forces Tesla to take a step forward, and that could come in the form of a more powerful version than the current Model 3 Performance. There is nothing actually confirmed about it though, but it has not been definitively ruled out either.
The preparations for the Fremont plant are mainly focused on the construction of temporary infrastructures that will serve the workers to perfect the adjustment and production of the factory lines. According to Teslarati the directors of the Gigafactory have asked local authorities to demolish part of the plant in order to install new machinery for the manufacture of the Model 3, all for an estimated cost close to $100,000. On top of all that, the general assembly section of the Model 3 will undergo a reorganization over the next few months as indicated in the permits. Although there is no defined presentation date, everyone assumes that the new Tesla Model 3 could begin production in May 2023.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.