It wouldn't be an Elon Musk event without a Tesla tease. The 2022 and fourth-quarter earnings call had several tormenting lines like "next generation vehicle platform" and "we have other products in development," as well as a complete refusal to answer a question because "we would be jumping the gun on future announcements."
Q4 Earnings Call
Mark your calendar for March 1, 2023 — Tesla's Investor Day. That's when we will find out what's next for Tesla. During the investor call, there were no shortages of tempting tidbits of information from company executives. What is it? Musk understands the curiosity, "I mean, I'd love to answer. You know, if I were you, I'd probably be asking the same question."
Tesla Building Excitement for Next Model
While we are used to Musk provoking interest, Tesla's so-called Master of Coin, Zachary Kirkhorn was also dropping hints. The tight-lipped Chief Financial Officer wrapped up his opening remarks by describing priorities for funding Tesla's long-term road map. "This includes... development of our next-generation vehicle platform... We're looking forward to discussing these plans in more detail on our Investor Day in a month."
Kirkhorn is one of many executives having difficulty keeping the next vehicle a secret. Chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen has said that his favorite Tesla product is the next one.
Musk has alluded to a highly configurable van and was asked if there were plans to accelerate commercial vehicles outside of the Semi. Musk responded, "Well, I was basically saying yes, but I'm not going to give you details, (laughs) nice try, nice try. "
But Musk explained that it's not about a limit in different vehicles they want to produce; it's a constraint on total cell lithium-ion production output. "Well, it doesn't really help if all you're doing is shuffling around the batteries from one car to another… So, we want a new product introduction to match where the cells are available or that new product to use those cells without cannibalizing the cells of the other cars. That's the actual limiting factor for new models, not anything else really."
With supply chain certainty, the time is right to make the next introduction to the Tesla lineup. However, it's hard to predict when that next-generation vehicle will be produced. We are still waiting for the Cybertruck. That vehicle was announced in 2017, but is only expected to become available this summer.
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Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.
Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.
Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.
The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.
You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.
While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.
It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.
With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.
Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.
Ambient Lighting in Action
While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.
Deciphering the 'T'
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X
Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.
This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!
This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.
Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.
Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades
Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.
Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.
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