The Tesla Model 3 redesign has been in the works for over a year now under the codename “Project Highland.” A new report — and purported photo of the updated Model 3 — has given electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts an appetizer of its potential new features.
Besides numerous updates to the car’s exterior and an update to Tesla’s new Hardware 4.0 self-driving feature, very little has yet to be revealed about the upgrade. In recent months, several camouflaged Model 3s have been spotted, and a photo was shared in April revealing what the car’s exterior may look like post-upgrade.
Based on alleged discussions with Tesla employees, several tweets and a report from third-party app Telescope suggest that the update will feature matrix LED lights, a steer-by-wire yoke, and a backup camera. The report has not revealed when users can expect to see the upgrades in action nor what the price point of the upgraded Model 3 will be.
If the report is accurate, the steer-by-wire system is the most unprecedented upgrade slated for the Model 3. The company recently filed a patent on the system, which does not use mechanical linkages in the steering system. Instead, the car relies on electrical and electromechanical systems for steering. This new steering system may allow for a redesigned cockpit and increased efficiency.
Currently, many markets require that cars have a mechanical steering system to be considered road legal. Tesla’s current fleet uses a mechanical steering system, too, but it has been working on developing steer-by-wire systems since 2020.
Steer-by-wire systems can have impressive benefits for EV drivers. Since the feature can send signals between the wheel and the steering system, it allows for “less vibration feedback on rough terrain,” per MakeUseOf, which would be safer for senior drivers or those with disabilities. It also has a more precise steering ratio, meaning the driver won’t need to use a hand-over-hand motion to turn the car on tight corners at low speeds.
Electrek noted that Telescope’s report should be taken “with a grain of salt” because “the information is a mix of precise new details and vague possible changes.” Still, that doesn’t mean EV enthusiasts shouldn’t be excited about Tesla’s future with the Model 3.
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