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In 2017, the Tesla Model 3 debuted as a compact electric sedan wearing a rather anonymous, if brand-specific face. Since then, the small EV has remained largely unchanged, though rumors of a new model began swirling in late 2022. Now, a Reddit user claims to have spied the facelifted Model 3, half uncovered in a warehouse.

What might be the updated Tesla Model 3
What may be the new Tesla Model 3 | ffiarpg/Reddit

Unconfirmed photos of the new Tesla Model 3

In a photo that began making the rounds on Wednesday, the purported new Model 3 is seen wearing similar design language as the current Model 3. The wheels are certainly from the current Tesla catalog, as are the featureless front bumper and curved body lines. In addition, the updated headlights have a similar shape to those shown in the oft-delayed Tesla Roadster. In all, there are many reasons to believe that this is the real deal.

Tesla’s Project Highland kept under wraps

An initial Motortrend report discovered the internal name for Tesla’s revised Model 3, “Project Highland”. At that point, there weren’t many other details available, and this photo is the first real proof that any redesign is coming down the pike.

The new front-end design does look simplified compared to the current Model 3, though it retains its relatively anonymous styling as a result. Still, it’s a car that is long overdue for a refresh, as a slew of new EVs have brought some heavy competition to the electric vehicle party.

If this is, in fact, the result of Project Highland, consider it a massage rather than a complete redesign. The doors, roofline, and wheels are all unchanged. And while this shot shows just the front third of the car, we suspect only minimal changes to the rear as well.

The updated looks are certainly more aerodynamic and attractive than what is now the now seven-year-old Model 3. The narrowed headlights give it a more modern edge, while the aggressive lower bumper lip affords the small EV a more athletic look.

Has Tesla confirmed any details for a new Model 3?

So far, Tesla hasn’t commented on any upcoming changes to the Model 3 or any other existing cars. All focus lately has been on the much-maligned Cybertruck and the aforementioned Roadster. The former has been in development for nearly four years, while the latter was announced before the Model 3 went on sale, and has yet to see a production line. Meanwhile, the updated Tesla Model 3 may have been spied testing by InsideEVs.

All of that means that trying to suss out when an updated Model 3 will hit the road is anyone’s guess. It seems like Tesla is on-track to deliver some of its promised products beginning in 2023. That could be a sign that the brand is beginning to speed up its processes to keep up with more streamlined competition.

Overall, Tesla is in a good position to release the Model 3 at the right time. Ford, Hyundai, and KIA have begin playing their hands in the affordable EV marketplace. That means Tesla can sit back and observe how the market reacts and tailor the Model 3 accordingly. For now, time will tell if these photos are actually the real deal for a redesigned Tesla sedan.

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