Tesla Model 3 upgrades: power liftgate, new center console, new ‘frunk,’ and more

Latest reports from China say that Tesla might be ready to carry out some notable changes to the Shanghai-made Model 3 Gigafactory. If the speculations prove to be true, Tesla’s most affordable sedan will soon get a powered liftgate and trunk, remove some factory chrome, the “Octovalve” Model Y, and new headlights and tail lights, to name a few.

The stories initially made their rounds in Weibo, a Chinese social media site, where people allegedly familiar with the matter posted them. As Tesla owner-enthusiast has shared on Twitter @Tesla Mania, the rumored updates to the Model 3 will include a range of Model Y-inspired enhancements and some very interesting changes that Elon Musk himself seems to have hinted at.

Back in July, Elon Musk replied to a request from a China-based Model 3 owner who asked for an upgrade to the power liftgate. The owner concerned had lost his ability to use his legs, which made using the Model 3’s manual liftgate and trunk difficult. In response to the request, Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla will install a power liftgate upgrade free of charge for the owner’s Model 3. These, of course, sparked speculations that eventually the feature would become standard for the Model 3.

Other features mentioned in the story, such as the use of the “Octovalve” of the Model Y and a new frunk, have also been suggested by owners in the West. Leaks emerged from Model 3 buyers only last month suggesting that Tesla has revised the Frunk configuration of the all-electric sedan. Considering that the revised design of the Model 3’s frunk was very similar to the Model Y’s, speculations have emerged that Tesla could look to use some of the most notable features of the all-electric crossover — such as its “Octovalve” and heat pump — on its mid-size sedan as well.

The same applies to the alleged changes of the Made-in-China Model 3 related to the headlights and taillights of the car. Tesla did not officially announce any improvements to these components in the Model 3, but reports from owners have indicated that newer vehicles are equipped with brighter and clearer tail lights. As for the factory chrome delete option, such speculations don’t seem farfetched at all as the Model Y already ships with no chrome accents.

The updated steering wheel, the “2.0” version of the center console, and a double layer glass for improved noise isolation are probably the most fascinating aspects of China’s latest rumors. It appears that these proposed changes have not yet been confirmed by recent owners of Model 3, although they are consistent with the trend of Tesla to carry out improvements over time to its vehicles. For the Model 3, improved noise isolation will certainly be a welcome change, because wind noise appears to be noticeable at high speeds. This is partially due to the absence of an internal combustion engine in conventional automobiles, which normally muffles or overtakes wind noise.

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