Tesla’s Model 3 Performance “Highland” Update Promises a Powertrain Surprise

Exploring the Unconventional Electric Motor Setup in Tesla's Upcoming Model 3 Performance Refresh

When it comes to exhilarating electric rides, Tesla’s Model 3 Performance undoubtedly stands out in the lineup. More compact than the Model S Plaid, it’s a thrill to navigate through corners and surprisingly affordable, currently priced at $53,240 in the United States before incentives. This pocket rocket can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.1 seconds and boasts a top speed of 162 mph. However, when the recent “Highland” refresh rolled out for the Model 3, something peculiar happened. The updated EV came in only two flavors: the single-motor RWD and the Long Range Dual Motor AWD. The beloved Model 3 Performance was conspicuously absent, leaving EV enthusiasts puzzled.

But wait, there’s a twist in this tale. An eagle-eyed observer on the TFF Forum noticed a European Type Certificate issued by vehicle authority RDW in July that listed a new Model 3 Performance. What set this apart? The VIN of this mysterious Model 3 Performance had a unique trait—a “T” as its eighth digit. Typically, the eighth digit in a VIN corresponds to the type of motor in a vehicle, so the presence of this “T” raises intriguing questions.

Tesla has previously used the “T” designation on European Model S and Model X Plaid VINs, but those vehicles feature a tri-motor AWD setup. While it’s unlikely for Tesla to introduce a tri-motor Model 3, there’s a possibility that the company might incorporate one of the Model S/X Plaid’s potent motors into the upcoming top-tier electric sedan. Such a move would undoubtedly elevate the Model 3 Performance to even greater heights.

The big question now is, how exactly will Tesla enhance the already outstanding Model 3 Performance with the “Highland” update? While specifics remain a mystery, it wouldn’t be surprising if Tesla focuses on refining key aspects, such as the 0-60 mph acceleration and top-end speed. With these improvements, it will become increasingly challenging for rivals to match the Model 3 Performance in terms of both price and capabilities.

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