The updated Tesla Model 3, codenamed Project Highland, was rumoured to be imminently entering production but now a report from China has cast doubt on that.

    Chinese outlet Yicai reports Tesla China denied the authenticity of reports the updated Model 3 would enter mass production in Shanghai on June 1.

    That doesn’t suggest the Model 3 update won’t happen – indeed, we’ve seen plenty of spy shots and even what appears to be an undisguised vehicle – but indicates production may start later.

    The Model 3 is built in both the US and China, though all Australian-market models are sourced from the latter.

    We have previously reported Tesla is expected to launch an update to the Model 3 that will go into production in the third quarter of 2023.

    An update to the closely-related Model Y SUV, codenamed Project Juniper, is expected to follow shortly after.

    A recent photo shared on Reddit shows the Model 3 will get a new headlight design potentially with matrix LED technology, as well as a new front bumper and what appears to be – at long last – an instrument cluster.

    It’s understood the current Model 3 and Model Y vehicles on sale already have matrix LED headlight technology, although it’s not enabled through software.

    Not A Tesla App reports the Model 3 will feature a single camera in the centre of its front bumper plus two new cameras, one on each side of the vehicle.

    These will reportedly be five-megapixel cameras with an anti-glare coating, superior to the 1.2-megapixel units in the current car. The updated model will also reportedly upgrade from the Hardware 3 supercomputer to Hardware 4.

    No ultrasonic sensors will be available as the company pushes its Tesla Vision system, which relies not on radar or sensors but rather a camera, while Tesla will also reportedly simplify the Model 3’s interior further.

    Tesla has previously said it wouldn’t go down the path of traditional ‘facelifts’ like legacy car companies, but it looks like it’s changing its tune to help keep its vehicles feel fresh.

    Flagging sales in the crucial Chinese market led to Tesla cutting prices there, triggering a price war with rival brands.

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model 3

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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