Tesla fans have been eagerly waiting for the launch of the Highland, the refreshed version of the Model 3 sedan. The wait is finally over, but only for customers in Europe and China. Tesla has officially unveiled the Model 3 Highland in these markets, with some evolutionary changes in styling, performance, and features.
The Highland features a new front fascia with a more streamlined nose and a redesigned lower bumper. The rear lights also get a subtle makeover, with a more angular shape and a darker tint. These changes improve the aerodynamics of the car, which helps boost its range by 10 to 12 percent.
The rear-wheel drive Model 3 has a 194-kilowatt (264-horsepower) electric motor and a range of 606 kilometers (376 miles) on the Chinese test cycle. The all-wheel drive version has 331 kilowatts (450 horsepower) and a range of 713 kilometers (443 miles). The interior also gets some upgrades, such as a steering wheel without stalks, more comfortable seats, better sound insulation, a display screen for rear passengers, and a tiltable front screen.
The Highland is not cheap, though. The pre-sale prices start at around $36,000 dollars for the rear-wheel drive model and $41,000 dollars for the all-wheel drive model in China. These prices are higher than the previous reports that suggested a starting price of $27,500 dollars.
Meanwhile, Tesla has also announced some price cuts for its other products in North America. The Full Self-Driving (FSD) package is now $12,000 dollars, down from $15,000. The subscription cost for FSD remains at $199 per month. The Model S and X also get cheaper by 15 to 20 percent in most of the world. This makes the Model X eligible for the full federal tax credit in the US, as it drops below $80,000.
Tesla is clearly trying to maintain its competitive edge in the electric vehicle market, as more rivals enter the scene. The Highland is expected to attract more customers in Europe and China, where Tesla faces strong competition from local brands. The price cuts for FSD and Model S and X are also aimed at boosting sales and loyalty among existing and potential customers.
For hardcore Tesla fans, this is a big deal. For the rest of us, this is a minor refresh with some undeniably cool updates. The reality is that the Model 3 is darn near seven years old and is becoming “old hat” these days, especially here in Southern California. Elon has eschewed all legacy auto trappings in the creation of Tesla, so it is interesting to see him rely on an old-school automotive trick (a styling facelift) to stoke interest in a long-in-the-tooth model. The Model S and X are even greyer and many sales have been cannibalized by their younger, smaller siblings.
The real news here is how long can Tesla ride its own buzz until it comes out with truly new models, especially with rivals closing in on the breakthrough brand. For Tesla competitors, this is either good news or an omen that the company is saving its shekels for new-generation models that will give the industry another jolt. Stay tuned to Electified Magazine for all the updates.