The Tesla Model 3, also known as the “affordable” Tesla, debuted last March to great fanfare, but also quite a bit of divisiveness. It was a Tesla electric car in the mid $30,000s and had a range of just over 200 miles, but it also had a weird pseudo-hatchback shape and a weird grille-less grille. Still, a great number of people went ahead and pre-ordered one, including myself.

The Model 3 has a target date of July 2017 to begin production, but up until quite recently, we haven’t seen too much on the car. Now we have some spy photos from Autoblog that shows a Model 3 that looks significantly different than the one that made its debut last year.

This recent set of pictures is from the “release candidate version” of the Model 3, which basically means that this is representative of the final design and we probably shouldn’t expect any more design changes. These photos show a pretty significant difference from the model we saw at the debut last March. The body resembles a Model S much more than a small Model X it initially resembled; a change that should please many potential owners. The grille-less grille is still there (I really don’t like it), but the design seems to be doing well for the Model X, so I guess I just need to live with it.

A few weeks back, Elon Musk tweeted a teaser video of the final release candidate Model 3 driving about. The video doesn’t show too much other than the fact that a late prototype Model 3 exists at all (probably more to appease investors):

The spy photos also show the Model 3 testing against a BMW 3-Series, which may be an indication of the target demographic the Model 3 is expected to go after.

If Tesla intends to meet the production start date of July 2017, then they’re going to need to pick things up a notch, but then again, it’s not like Tesla is known for hitting deadlines. We’ll keep our eyes open for any more upcoming news about the Tesla Model 3 production cycle. I’m ready for mine and to put my house’s solar system to work!

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