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In a nutshell: Tesla is reportedly working on a redesigned version of its five-year-old Model 3 that aims to reduce production costs while focusing on amenities that appeal to shoppers. The project, codenamed "Highland," will aim to slash costs by cutting down on the number of individual components used in the interior of the vehicle.
Additional revisions, including changes to the sedan's exterior and powertrain, could also accompany the refresh according to source familiar with the matter as reported by Reuters.
Tesla is known to use casting machines to create single, larger components to reduce costs and expedite assembly. Limiting the number of individual components used in a build would also presumably put less stress on the supply chain.
"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," Musk said during an interview at a Baron Funds conference earlier this month.
Sources said the refreshed Model 3 will go into production at Tesla's Gigafactory in Shanghai starting in the third quarter of 2023. Production is also expected to occur at Tesla's Fremont, California, plant but it is unclear when work will commence there. Reuters also didn't know what sort of potential cost savings Tesla might be looking at with the changes or if any of the savings will be passed along to buyers in the form of price cuts.
Tesla is facing increased pressure from traditional automakers on the EV front including Chevy with its new Blazer EV and Ford's all-electric F-150 Lightning. GMC also recently announced its 2024 Sierra Denali EV pickup starting at a cool $107,000 before dealer fees.
The EV maker is also feeling the heat from overseas competitors. In China, which is Tesla's second largest market behind the US, sales of the Model 3 were down nine percent across the first 10 months of 2022 compared to a year earlier.
Tesla's most affordable Model 3 starts at $46,990 as of writing before any potential gas savings are factored into the equation. In the most recent quarter, Tesla produced a combined 345,988 Model 3 / Model Y vehicles.
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