Tesla Model 3 facelift unlikely, although masked cars have been spotted recently

2023 Tesla Model 3 update spied

Tesla’s design chief has dismissed reports that a facelift for its cheapest car, the Tesla Model 3 sedan — and its SUV twin Model Y — is on the way.

This is what a slightly updated Tesla Model 3 could look like.

Radical exterior and interior updates for the 2024 Tesla Model 3 electric car — and its Model Y SUV sibling — contrary to reports from overseas, appear unlikely in the immediate future, according to the company’s chief designer.

Now, Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen appears to have poured cold water on plans for an overhaul of the company’s most affordable car — the Tesla Model 3 sedan — and its popular SUV sibling, the Tesla Model Y.

This is what a slightly updated Tesla Model 3 could look like.

“I think there are things that we’re always looking at… These vehicles are great for what they are and we didn’t see any need or need for a change, so ‘don’t fix it if it’s not ‘Not broke’, that’s kind of a mentality.”

He added: “Look at that [Model] 3 and the [Model] Y on the street and they feel super modern…why spoil that?

The Model 3 sedan has been on the market for five and a half years and the related Model Y SUV for three years.

Current Tesla Model 3 interior.

Most automakers tend to introduce minor updates after three years of a six-year model cycle (although this timing can vary between brands), but Tesla is known for not adopting industry norms.

Instead, Tesla has made incremental technical changes to its cars rather than introducing significant cosmetic overhauls.

For example, the Tesla Model 3 (and Model Y) has featured larger battery packs, more powerful electric motors, and improved energy efficiency over the years — and minor interior changes, like a new center console for the Model 3 in 2020.

The larger Tesla Model S sedan is now a decade old and has undergone two minor updates – with no new generation in sight – while the related Tesla Model X SUV has been available in the US since 2015.

Spy photos have surfaced in recent months of a Tesla Model 3 being tested on California roads sporting heavy camouflage over its front and rear ends.

It was originally thought this could test an upcoming exterior facelift – but Mr von Holzhausen’s comments now lend more weight to a theory that the prototype was testing new driver assistance cameras or sensors, rather than a new design.

According to the news agency ReutersThe “Project Highland” update for the Model 3 is scheduled to begin production in China by September 2023 and is intended to “reduce component count and interior complexity” to focus on “features Tesla buyers value, including the ad”.

Reuters also reported that the Model 3 update “might also include some changes to… exterior and powertrain performance,” but didn’t detail what those might be.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017 when he launched his own website Redline. He worked for Drive in 2018 before joining CarAdvice in 2019 and becoming a regular journalist on the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role in Alex’s life, from leafing through car magazines at a young age to growing up with performance vehicles in a car loving family.

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