It looks as if the baby Tesla is adopting the stalkless design first seen on the Model S and Model X.
It's no secret that Tesla is working on a refreshed version of the famous Model 3. Little is known about the facelifted model, but a new video suggests the entry-level electric sedan will adopt a controversial feature from the larger Model S and Model X.
In a video posted to YouTube, we can see an engineer entering the cabin of a prototype Model 3. Around the 3:19 mark, the driver swipes the touchscreen before setting off. It's difficult to see, but we don't spot the column-mounted gear shifter.
We can only assume that they were putting the car into gear via the touchscreen, a feature first introduced on the larger models a few years ago. While this may bring the Model 3 more in line with the rest of the range, we must ask: what was wrong with the conventional gear selector?
In other models, this left-field gear selector shows a top-down image of a vehicle on the screen's left side. The driver can place the car in "Drive" or "Reverse" by sliding their finger in the corresponding direction. While some find this a nifty feature, others have critiqued the setup for its unintuitive functionality.
If the new Model 3 will debut without traditional column stalks, we can also expect the turn signals and high beam controls to be relegated to the steering wheel. Since Ferrari first moved these controls to the steering wheel, the automotive world has largely pivoted away from this design as it is cumbersome and confusing.
We're not sure why Tesla is going down this route - particularly with such a strong-selling model - but we're guessing it has something to do with cutting costs.
The camouflage makes it difficult to see any styling updates. But, when viewed from the front, we can see the outline of the headlight cluster. It appears to be very similar to the existing design and not the Roadster-inspired cluster we saw in the rumored leak earlier this year. Then again, it could be an illusion designed to confuse curious photographers and passers-by.
When it arrives, it will be interesting to see what other design changes are given to the refreshed Model 3. Perhaps Tesla will offer the newcomer with the controversial yoke steering wheel and give buyers a choice between it and a more conventional design.
Hopefully, we will also see new wheel designs and an updated rear end. The Model 3 has been around for a few years and, even though it is exceptionally popular, the compact sedan will need a facelift to remain appealing.
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