Heavily Camouflaged Updated Tesla Model 3 Spied

Spy Shots / Comments

Who says Teslas don't evolve?

A heavily camouflaged Tesla Model 3 prototype has been spotted in California, and it appears that this foreshadows a rumored refresh scheduled for next year.

Spy shots of Teslas are rare, as design refreshes are not typical for the company. Remember, Tesla considers itself a technology company rather than a carmaker, and the allure of its vehicles has never been tied to how they look.

But in this case, the changes could be both technological and aesthetic. The images you see below were captured by Twitter user @omg_tesla, who spotted the prototype in an underground car park. And because the test vehicle is wearing manufacturer plates, it's safe to assume that Elon Musk's company owns this car.

@omg_tesla/Twitter

Annoyingly, the camouflage is very effective, and we can't see any noticeable styling changes from the existing Model 3. However, if you look closely, the corner of each headlight appears to conceal a tiny camera, which Tesla insists is a feasible replacement for an ultrasonic sensor, even though the vast majority of the industry has proved otherwise.

But there could be other changes coming too. According to a recent report from Reuters, Tesla's redesign of the Model 3 is codenamed project "Highland," and this is reportedly intended to "reduce the number of components and complexity in the interior of the Model 3."

@omg_tesla/Twitter

Sadly, we don't get a look at the cabin. Still, we suspect that the same changes applied to the Model S last year - fewer buttons and the removal of traditional air vents, the option of a yoke steering tiller, and more - could come to Tesla's cheapest current model.

It's also possible that the Model 3 will soon benefit from the casting technology that makes the Model Y much simpler to build. CEO Elon Musk said this would happen eventually but did not give a timeline for when it could happen. Based on these images, however, it's pretty likely that the Model 3 is about to get a little more advanced and a lot easier to produce. Expect confirmation on any updates to arrive in the new year.

@omg_tesla/Twitter

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