A NEW Tesla Model 3 Coming In 2023! (Project Highland)

Get ready for an exciting preview of the upcoming Tesla Model 3! This article takes a look at the features and specs of Project Highland, Tesla's new electric vehicle set to launch in 2023. Learn more about this revolutionary car and be sure to stay tuned for updates!

A NEW Tesla Model 3 Coming In 2023! (Project Highland)
A NEW Tesla Model 3 Coming In 2023! (Project Highland)

In today's episode, Tesla's mysterious Project Highland Model 3 Starlink connects to Haiti and the South Pacific, and South Korea tries to convince Tesla to give them their own Gigafactory. There are lots to get into.

Model 3 projects Highland Refreshed

So let's get going. Reports are pointing to a secret in the Tesla redesign project for its Model 3 sedan, codenamed "Project Highland." The refreshed Model 3 is supposedly going to focus on reducing the number of design components and complexity of the interior, as well as working on updating other features like the large infotainment display.

The reporting comes from the news outlet Reuters, which says four sources close to the project confirmed the details of Project Highland and asked not to be named as the project hasn't been announced yet.

Extra details from these sources include mention of changes to the Model 3's exterior and powertrain performance and that production should begin in the third quarter of 2023 at the Gigafactory in Shanghai and the company's facility in Fremont, California. Of course, we know that anonymous sources familiar with the matter are not reliable sources of information, so take this one with a hefty dose of salt.

Elon Musk has yet to directly contradict this particular story on Twitter, which is something that he has been pretty quick to do lately, so that does lend a bit of credibility. While these details are a little sparse, they do give us some clues as to what the redesign could be covering.

Take the mention of reducing the number of components, for instance. Back in 2021, Tesla introduced their Giga press; these enormous machines were able to die-cast whole sections of a vehicle in one go, and they would be used to make the rear frame sections of the Model Y first and then eventually the front. They also introduced the structural battery pack in 2022, which would also be used to make the model Y at Giga Texas.

So far, the other Tesla vehicles don't make use of either of these technologies aside from the in-development Cyber truck, which is due to begin production in 2023, so it's not a stretch to think that a big part of the model 3 redesign would focus on reducing the complexity of its construction through the addition of Giga castings, and we might even see the use of the structural battery pack as well.

But there's also that comment about the complexity of the interior being addressed. The model 3 is Tesla's cheapest vehicle, coming in at about 47 000 USD, and its interior certainly doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles; if it were any more minimalized, it would just be a hollow void, so it's hard to see how Tesla's going to simplify that, but they could be referring to deleting the control stocks on the steering column as they did for the model S revamp in 2021; that would mean that the turn signals and wiper controls would move to touch buttons on the steering wheel, and the gear shift would move to the touch screen with help from the auto shift feature.

The Model 3 could also benefit from an updated touchscreen panel with smaller bezels and higher resolution, much like the new screen in the Model S.

The Model S was Tesla's flagship vehicle and officially went into production in 2012, so when the company decided it needed to bring the car up to 2020 standards, no one was surprised when the refreshed version launched in 2021, including the infamous Model S plaid variant, and featured slightly updated body panels, headlights, and tail lights, as well as big changes to the interior that included swapping the steering wheel out for a more race car-like yoke.

Tesla also updated the dashboard screen to fit into the console horizontally and updated things like the air vents to be more in line with the Model 3 and Y. This followed Tesla's drive to make their designs more efficient.

Special steering wheels aside, it was around this time that the Giga press was being shown off, and CEO Elon Musk remarked that the rear of the Model 3 looks like a patchwork quilt while praising the simplicity that the model will enjoy by using this new casting method.

So while Tesla's goal of simplifying their designs means the Model 3 isn't likely to get a big change to the interior style industry, Watchers like Ed Kim of the Auto Pacific Group point to the model S rework and the small changes that have kept the model 3 up to date so far as proof that Tesla knows actually tangible changes are in order to keep Tesla in the minds of potential customers, and that brings us to the comments about the production beginning in Shanghai and Fremont.

California helps verify the veracity of the reporting, especially the mention of Shanghai, where sales of the model 3 in China fell about nine percent in the first 10 months of this year as Tesla faced some of its first real competition in that market. According to the China Passenger Car Association, both BYD's and Han electric sedans sold better than the model 3 during that period aside from better production methods.

That's a pretty good incentive to update a design and the approach. Works Tesla's push to eliminate unnecessary parts leads them to make more profit per unit. Toyota for instance makes roughly 1300 USD per comparable electric vehicle sold versus roughly 9 500 for Tesla. With the news that Tesla plans to launch this updated Model 3 in Shanghai first plus the recent drop in price for Chinese buyers in October, it's pretty clear that this is a move to not only keep the Model 3 in line with Tesla's newer products but also remain the kings of China's EV market.

Starlink connects Haiti's South Pacific islands

SpaceX is continuing its mission to connect remote and hard-hit areas to the internet with their Starlink service, as the company has reportedly gained approval to begin offering the service in Haiti as well as on the islands of Pitcairn and Rapanui in the South Pacific Ocean.

The island nation of Haiti is regularly struck by ferocious storms and has had a lot of trouble keeping its communications infrastructure in good repair, let alone expanding it to the more rural parts of the island. Fair enough, it can't be easy to keep wired connections running when your country gets completely wrecked by multiple tropical storms each year, but SpaceX has reportedly been testing its satellite internet in Haiti for some time before they got the permits to continue.

The most recent was a four-month pilot program that measured speeds across 20 sites across the country, but they had also been testing at some major landmarks like school campuses and government buildings for the last two years with this permit in hand. SpaceX believes it can officially launch the service before the end of the year.

As for the Southern Pacific, the islands of Pitcairn and Rapa Nui have also given SpaceX the go-ahead to begin operating. The two islands are small and remote, with internet service being tenuous or nonexistent. Pitcairn, for instance, is a part of a small volcanic chain of just four islands with a combined area of only 18 square miles, and while Rapa Nui, which is a territory of Chile, has free public internet provided by the Chilean government, it's reportedly not too reliable and doesn't have the capacity to allow for regular use.

There's no word on what SpaceX is charging for service in Haiti, but for the two South Pacific Islands, the company is charging 110 USD per month plus the 599 USD equipment charge, which at least should get some locations up and connected. It might not be affordable for everyone living there, but it should allow for a more reliable connection between businesses and public buildings. Rapa Nui is apparently already active according to Starlink's availability map, but SpaceX hopes to have them all going by early 2023 at the latest. 

Gigafactory South Korea

  • 2023 is just around the corner, and countries are jockeying for Tesla's attention, hoping to be picked as the location for the next Gigafactory. The latest country to throw its hat into this ring is South Korea. The president's office recently described a virtual meeting between President Yun Suk Yul and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The meeting reportedly took place on November 23rd, and while the South Korean government didn't release a transcript, their description includes some interesting details about the conversation according to the president's office brief.

  • Yoon and Musk spoke at length about the CEO's plan to construct a Gigafactory in Asia, including a more specific discussion of Tesla's willingness to invest in South Korea's EV charging infrastructure and the possibility of expanding the supply chain from South Korean companies like LG and Samsung.

  • While previous hints from Tesla seemed to show that the next Gigafactory would likely be in North America, with Canada being the top contender there, the EV company has been keeping its eye on an Asian expansion as well.

  • The most promising location up until the call with South Korea's president had been Indonesia, where the country's president, Joko Widodo, has been making strong plays for Tesla's attention this year, including offering access to the country's vast nickel deposits and the land to construct an entire production line. And while that's obviously an enticing offer, it's clear that South Korea has its own benefits as well.

  • South Korean president Yoon correctly pointed out that his country is a world-class automotive industrial hub, with gigantic automakers like Hyundai and Kia making their homes there, but more importantly is the presence of Tesla Partners, Samsung, and LG Tesla and Samsung have been developing electronic equipment for the EV company's vehicles, such as the semiconductors for their in-vehicle infotainment and the media control units, that big touch screen on the dashboard that controls driver assistance, music, security, and even gaming.

  • LG, on the other hand, just made the decision to invest $452 million in a new production line for the creation of Tesla's new 4680 They reportedly cited Giga Shanghai's increased production as one of the reasons they made that choice, and cap it all off, President Yoon told Musk that the South Korean government would move to improve regulations that might make it difficult for the foreign companies to do business there, so it looks like South Korea knows how to press their advantage. It will still likely be a bit before Tesla makes that final decision, but we don't envy their choice between well-developed South Korea and the potential of Indonesia and its natural resources.

How much will a Tesla Model 3 cost in 2023?

The 2023 Tesla Model 3 is set to be a major upgrade from the previous models and it looks like it won't come cheap. The base model of the 2023 Tesla Model 3 is expected to start at around $48,000, slightly more than the current 2022 model.

However, pricing can quickly escalate if you opt for more luxurious options like the mid-tier Long Range model, which costs around $65,500 before on-road costs. If you want a fully loaded 2023 Tesla Model 3, you should expect to pay closer to $82,000. Despite the higher price tag, there's no doubt that this electric vehicle will be worth every penny with its impressive range and powerful performance.

What are the upcoming Tesla models?

  • Tesla is set to launch a number of new models in 2023, including the Model 3, Model Y, and Roadster. The Model 3 will receive updates under the hood to deliver improved performance, while the interior will be simplified for better usability.

  • The Model Y will feature some new features, as well as some features removed. Finally, the Roadster is Tesla's supercar offering with an expected launch date of 2023. In Australia, a prototype of an updated Tesla Model 3 has been spotted which may arrive in 2021. All this means that Tesla is set to offer an exciting lineup of vehicles in 2023 that should cater to all kinds of drivers.

If you’re excited about the new Tesla Model 3, then you should definitely keep an eye out for Project Highland. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as new information comes out. In the meantime, let us know what you think of this news in the comments below!


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