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Tesla Model 3 details: All the updates you may have missed since the unveiling

Updated 4 years ago
Published Apr 12th, 2016 11:36AM EDT
Tesla Model 3 Features

Between the Model 3 unveiling, the recent Model X recall and the revamped Model S, it’s been an incredibly busy two weeks for Tesla. And with the Gigafactory still a work in progress and Model 3 reservations through the roof, life at Tesla won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

With respect to the Model 3, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been busy on Twitter over the past few days answering questions and addressing concerns regarding the Model 3. So even if you happened to catch the entirety of Musks’s Model 3 introduction last month, we’ve learned quite a bit more about what we can expect to see from the final production version of the Model 3.

DON’T MISS: HTC 10 hands-on: The most surprising smartphone of the year

That being the case, we’ve compiled a list detailing all of the Model 3 updates you may have missed since the car’s unveiling about two weeks ago.

A traditional instrument cluster isn’t in the works

One of the more striking design details of the Model 3 is that it lacks a traditional instrument cluster. Instead, all of the traditional instrumentation has seemingly been relocated to the 15-inch digital display in the center console.

Understandably, this radical design had some prospective buyers worried. Here’s what we’ve learned since.

For starters, the overall look of the dashboard pictured above is not going to change. When a Tesla rep was recently asked if the lack of an instrument cluster was “going to make it to the production model”, the answer was an emphatic “Yes.”

“This is not a show car, this is an engineering prototype,” the Tesla rep explained. “This is our first engineering validation car that we’re working on. We’re actually doing drag testing with it, and we really wanted to make it production representative so it was useful… we don’t have time, it’s only a year and a half, we have to go with this.”

But there’s likely more to the Model 3 interior than meets the eye. When asked directly about the lack of a traditional dashboard or even a HUD, Elon Musk said that it will all make sense once more Model 3 details are revealed.

This of course has led some to speculate that a HUD option will be available, or perhaps even come standard, once the Model 3 is released. Suffice it to say, it stands to reason that the image depicted above is just a partial representation of what the Model 3 dashboard area is going to look like upon its release.

On a related note, word broke yesterday that Tesla this month hired Felix Godard, a reputed designer responsible for the interior of Porsche’s highly regarded Mission E concept car. Interestingly enough, the dashboard on the Mission E features a holographic display.

The steering wheel is going to get a major upgrade

Another conspicuous aspect of the Model 3 design is that the steering wheel was uncommonly bare. Whereas most steering wheel’s these days incorporate a wide array of vehicular controls, the steering wheels we saw on display during the Model 3 unveiling were completely empty.

Was this a purposeful decision designed to keep costs down? Thankfully, the answer to that question is no. Addressing the issue on Twitter, Elon Musk intimated that the Model 3’s real steering wheel will be much more advanced, even going so far as to liken it to a spaceship.

As a point of reference, here’s what the steering wheel on a 2015 Ferrari California T looks like.

So yeah, we can likely expect a few more bells and whistles on the Model 3 steering wheel once it’s ready for mass production.

The trunk is going to get an upgrade

In an effort to improve passenger headroom in the backseat, the design of the Model 3’s trunk was compromised quite a bit. Not only is the trunk opening rather small, but the storage volume appears to be modest, at best.


Addressing this concern, Musk on Twitter last week indicated that Tesla is working on improving the trunk design.

Front design of the Model 3 may be slightly altered

The unique front design of the Model 3 has seemingly divided people into two camps. While some are enamored with the design, others have been quick to call it unabashedly ugly. Either way, it’s certainly unique.

That said, the front design of the Model 3 we saw during the product unveiling is already being tweaked by Tesla designers, per this tweet from Musk.

Model 3 will come with a dual motor AWD option

Confirming previous reports, Musk on Twitter said that two-wheel drive will be standard but that a dual motor AWD option will be available.

Indeed, Musk a few months ago noted: “In order to keep the car as affordable as possible, the standard version of the car would have single motor, but we’ll offer dual motor as an option.”

Model 3 production cars will be faster

As Musk boasted, Tesla doesn’t know how to make slow cars.


Demand for the Model 3 completely shocked Elon Musk

Demand for the Model 3 has been off the charts impressive. Even the most optimistic of Tesla enthusiasts couldn’t have predicted a tally of more than 325,000 Model 3 reservations in just one week. Of course, the looming question now surrounding Tesla centers on whether or not they can handle such immense demand in a timely manner. 325,000 reservations is undoubtedly amazing, but we imagine that many of those reservation holders don’t want to wait until 2020 to pick up their car.

Interestingly, Musk, in the wake of the Model 3 unveiling, said that Tesla will “need to rethink production planning.” Also interesting, though perhaps not surprising, is that demand for the Model 3 completely caught Musk off guard. Before the product introduction, Musk said he was anticipating reservations to fall somewhere in the 62,000 to 125,000 range.

Minor Model 3 tidbits

Some final Model 3 tidbits include:

  • A vegan interior option will be available
  • The interior will be spacious enough to comfortably seat a 6’5 individual
  • With the Model 3, Tesla is aiming for an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.21
Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.