Tesla's Project Highland Model 3: New Wheels and Other Changes Revealed

By Kevin Armstrong
The Kilowatts spots Tesla's Project Highland with new wheels
The Kilowatts spots Tesla's Project Highland with new wheels
The Kilowatts/Twitter

Tesla's mysterious caped crusader has once again appeared. Twitter and YouTuber The Kilowatts posted pictures of a black Model 3. For months these cars, sporting covers on the front and back, have been noticed in California, but this is the first time we've seen one without aero covers on the wheels. So the refreshed Model 3, known as project Highland, will apparently have new wheels. But some other changes are also revealed in these images.

New Wheels on the Highland

The rims in the Kilowatts post have 14 points of contact with the outer edges instead of the current 10-spoke rims. The spokes are slightly off-center to give a swirl effect, another difference from the straight lines the current rims offer. There is a large circle in the middle where the center cap will go. That circle will replace the five-star piece on the existing wheels.

These wheels offer more coverage, possibly cutting down on wind resistance and giving you a half mile more in range. As we know, Tesla always looks for more ways to improve capacity.

Body Molding Change and Wires

While the wheels draw attention, there may be another change. Check out the side repeater. It almost looks like the body modeling has ben extended around the repeater camera, but it's not terribly clear in the photo and it could just be the reflection. We know that Hardware 4 comes with new cameras, and other evidence points to the side repeater cameras changing the angle that they point. However, the housing of the cameras appears the same as the previous model.

The bumper also appears to have a slightly different shape than the current Model 3, with the top lip appearing to be reduced or moved further down.

It's all a mystery after that. Check out the duct tape used to cover the headlight thoroughly. Previous pictures of these cars had the headlight exposed, it seems there may be some changes there. It was believed cameras were being added to the headlight housing, but that speculation was put to rest with images of HW4-equipped Model S, and Model X spotted in Fremont.

Finally, some wires come from under the car and run along the inside and partially on the outside of the doors before going back under the car.

Reuters reported that Project Highland would go into production in Shanghai in September. This new Model 3 is expected to cut production costs by focusing on reducing the number of components and some interior changes. In addition, the exterior is expected to see some changes to improve efficiency and reduce cost.

Tesla Model 3's 2024 IIHS Safety Award Snub, While Model Y Shines

By Kevin Armstrong
Model Y Top Safety Pick
Model Y Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has once again raised the bar for vehicle safety in 2024, introducing more rigorous criteria to evaluate the protection vehicles offer to occupants and pedestrians alike. Amidst these enhanced standards, the Tesla Model Y stands out as a recipient of the prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award, affirming its position as a leader in automotive safety, a position it has held for years, also claiming last year’s title.

Innovative Safety Features

The 2024 Tesla Model Y has demonstrated outstanding performance across various safety tests, excelling in crashworthiness and crash avoidance capabilities. The vehicle earned the highest possible rating, 'Good'’ in all tested categories, including small and moderate overlap front tests, side impact tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Notably, Model Y's performance in the small overlap front test was particularly commendable, showcasing effective airbag deployment, well-maintained survival space for the dummy, and a low risk of significant injuries.

The Model Y has advanced safety features significantly contributing to its top-tier rating. Among these, automatic emergency braking stands out, displaying superior pedestrian detection and avoidance capabilities under daylight and nighttime conditions. Additionally, the vehicle's LED projector headlights received high praise for their illumination quality, ensuring optimal visibility without causing glare to oncoming traffic. Lars Moravy, VP of Vehicle Engineering at Tesla, explains why the company’s vehicles are so safe.

Recognizing the importance of safety for passengers of all ages, the Tesla Model Y's LATCH system for child seat anchors was rated 'Acceptable.'’ This reflects the vehicle’s commitment to accommodating families and enhancing safety for younger passengers, highlighting the ease of use and accessibility of the anchors.

Absence of Model 3

While the Tesla Model Y has proudly secured its place among the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ awardees for 2024, the Model 3 was noticeably absent from this prestigious list. The reason behind this, as reported by Teslarati, sheds light on the stringent criteria set by IIHS and the potential for future inclusion of Model 3.

Historically, the Model 3 was honored with the Top Safety Pick+ award in 2020, 2021, and 2022 but was notably missing in 2023 and 2024. Joe Young of the IIHS explained to Teslarati the reason behind this absence: the Model 3 has yet to be evaluated in the institute's updated side crash test and lacks a rating in the updated moderate overlap crash test—both critical components of the award criteria for this year.

This lack of current evaluations means the IIHS cannot consider the Model 3 for either safety award at this time. However, it's not a definitive exclusion. The IIHS is open to recognizing the 2024 Model 3 later in the year as additional tests are completed and ratings are updated.

Tesla’s engineering focus on creating the safest vehicles in the world is evident, with an extremely low chance of roll-over and occupant injury, positioning the Model Y as the best-selling car globally and among the safest on the road.

Musk Provides Update on Tesla Roadster and Announces New Specs; Deliveries in 2025

By Kevin Armstrong
Roadster Closer to Reality
Roadster Closer to Reality

In a series of posts on X, Elon Musk stirred up some late-night excitement, offering tantalizing details about the new Tesla Roadster. Musk reached back to posts from 2018 to update his 374 million followers on X with the latest progress, suggesting that Tesla is on the brink of unveiling a vehicle that promises to redefine the boundaries of the automotive industry again.

Tonight, we radically increased the design goals for the new Tesla Roadster. There will never be another car like this, if you could even call it a car. -Elon Musk

A Leap Toward the Future

Musk kicked off the series of posts by returning to old Twitter posts from June 2018 when he announced that the Roadster would come with a SpaceX option package featuring around ten small rocket thrusters, hints at capabilities far beyond traditional sports cars. These thrusters are expected to dramatically enhance acceleration, top speed, braking, and cornering, with Musk going as far as teasing the possibility of flight.

Beyond Boundaries & Timelines

In 2018, Musk reflected on his automotive journey, from choosing a McLaren F1 over a house in Palo Alto. He updated that tweet by posting you will love the new Roadster more than your house. There’s no telling what happened behind closed doors, but with Cybertruck now out the door, several bright, creative engineers have moved to the next challenge, and given Musk’s posts, there has been a significant breakthrough.

Musk confidently states that there will never be another car like this, challenging the very definition of what a car can be. Completing the production design and announcing an unveiling by the end of the year set a clear timeline for its anticipated debut, matching what was predicated at a recent earnings call.

Collaboration and Innovation

The collaboration between Tesla and SpaceX symbolizes a fusion of automotive and aerospace technologies, promising a product demo that could be the most mind-blowing of all time. Musk's assertion that the Roadster could achieve a 0-60 mph time of less than one second—remarkably stated as the "least interesting part" sets unprecedented expectations for performance.

A Brief History and What We Know

Initially earmarked for a 2021 release, the Roadster's journey to production has been met with delays. Despite this, Musk has remained steadfast that this promised vehicle will not only shatter performance records but also redefine what electric cars are capable of.

Tesla's ambition for the Roadster is clear: to create the fastest production car in the world. With a target 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of under 1.9 seconds and a top speed exceeding 250 mph, the Roadster is poised to outperform even the most advanced sports cars, including Tesla's own Model S Plaid. Slave Popovski created a cool simulation animation of a drag race between the Standard Tesla Roadster and the SpaceX thruster version. He states that thrusters are only on for 1.1 seconds, and he uses motion physics to simulate online figures.

The Roadster's engineering marvel extends to its range and battery efficiency. Equipped with a 200 kWh battery pack, it aims to set a new standard with a range of up to 620 miles on a single charge.

Previously, we’ve heard numbers for a base model starting at around $200,000; the Roadster is positioned as a premium offering in the EV market. The limited-edition Founder's Series and the SpaceX Package will cater to enthusiasts and collectors, highlighting the Roadster's exclusivity.

As Tesla prepares for the most mind-blowing product demo of all time, Elon Musk's vision for the new Tesla Roadster is not just about creating another electric vehicle but pushing the limits of what's possible. With its groundbreaking design, unparalleled performance, and the hint of aerospace-inspired technology, the Roadster is shaping up to be a milestone in automotive history. With its groundbreaking design, unparalleled performance, and the hint of aerospace-inspired technology, the Roadster is shaping to be a milestone in automotive history.

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