A Tesla Model 3 variant known as the "Highland" was recently spotted undergoing testing in the United States, notably without any camouflage covering. This provided a clear view of both the front and rear bumpers, a sight that is quite unusual.
While Tesla has already introduced the Model 3 Highland in markets across Asia, Europe, and parts of the Middle East, it has yet to reach customers in the United States. Given the modifications made to the Model 3 with this Highland version, it's possible that the automaker is awaiting approval from both the EPA and NHTSA for the vehicle, which would explain the on-road testing we are observing – a pattern we've seen with impending vehicle releases, such as the Cybertruck.
This specific Model 3 Highland was spotted on Highway 280 in California, positioned between San Francisco and San Jose. Notably, the vehicle is equipped with manufacturer plates, indicating that it is indeed undergoing testing by Tesla.
Furthermore, the design of this Model 3 Highland appears to be consistent with the version launched in the Eastern Hemisphere.
As for the U.S. release of the Model 3 Highland, Tesla has kept details relatively close to the chest. Various speculated timelines for the vehicle's launch have circulated, with early 2023 being one of the most popular estimates. However, Tesla has yet to provide any definitive indications regarding its arrival in the U.S. market.
During Tesla's Q3 Earnings Call in October, a retail investor inquired about the expected timeline for the Model 3 Highland's introduction to the U.S.
Tesla’s Head of Investor Relations, Martin Viecha, said:
“I just wanted to address that, unfortunately, we don’t answer product-related questions and timings on earnings call.”