Tesla has been snapped testing an update to its best-selling Model 3 electric sedan.
A 2022 report from Automotive News suggested an update was coming with upgrades to the exterior and powertrain, and a “less complex” cabin.
Along with keeping the Model 3 fresh in the face of strong new competition, the update is reportedly aimed at making the car cheaper and easier for Tesla to produce.
It’s not clear how Tesla will simplify the cabin of the Model 3 given it has barely any switchgear, and most functions are controlled through the central touchscreen.
A 2021 update subbed the USB-A for USB-C ports, and brought about a restyled centre console with two wireless phone chargers and extra storage.
Sources told Automotive News that Tesla is “focusing on features that Tesla buyers value, including the display”.
“Over and over, we found parts that are not needed. They were put in there just in case or by mistake. We eliminated so many parts from a car that did nothing,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at a Baron Funds conference in 2022.
The updated model will reportedly enter production in Shanghai in the third quarter of 2023, with the updates also set to filter over to Model 3s produced in the USA. All Model 3s sold in Australia are currently sourced from China.
Tesla doesn’t follow the product lifecycles of vehicles from legacy automakers.
Its Model S, for example, has been in production for a decade now and, though it has received various running changes over its lifecycle, its exterior has received only the mildest of updates.
The Tesla Model 3 hasn’t been in production as long, but it did go on sale in 2017. While it has received tweaks and over-the-air updates since then, including the detail interior changes, its exterior styling is essentially unchanged.
Its age hasn’t held the Model 3 back in Australia, however. It was the third-best selling vehicle overall in January 2023, and was the best-selling passenger car ahead of traditional favourites such as the Toyota Corolla.
The Model 3 drove overall electric vehicle sales to a 5.7 per cent total market share for January.
MORE: Everything Tesla Model 3