Model 3 Highland release in the US or Canada may be delayed over HW4 'differences' and crash tests
The US release of the 2024 Model 3 Highland refresh may actually happen in 2024 indeed, all the while first deliveries in China or Europe are expected at the end of October. Thus, the Model 3 Highland may be released in Canada and the US together with its Australian launch that is pegged for Q1 as per Tesla Australia's website.
According to a new report, Tesla Model 3 Highland won't be coming to North America this year for various reasons. Chief among these seem to be "differences between vehicles built at different locations" with those locations for now being Tesla's Gigafactory in Shanghai which already commenced mass Model 3 Highland production, and the Fremont factory in California that is still being retooled for the purpose.
The Model 3 Highland US release may wait for the full HW4 set
For now, it is anyone's guess what are the feature "differences" that are delaying the Model 3 Highland US release.
Previously, rumors pegged the Highland coming with a watered down Hardware 4.0 kit, referring to the version built at Giga Shanghai. When Tesla announced the 2024 Model 3 facelift, the official renders clearly showed a front bumper camera like on the Cybertruck. Shortly after, however, the FSD HW4 camera in the front bumper of the Chinese Model 3 Highland got erased from the renders at Tesla's website.
The rumored reason is that Tesla is simply not ready with the new HW4 kit, both in terms of components, and in terms of software. Elon Musk recently said that Tesla is now focusing on making the latest FSD Beta V12 software work smoothly on current HW3 vehicles in order to launch it internationally, and will focus on Hardware 4.0 in a few months.
Thus, Tesla may know which exactly HW4 options it will be able to ship the Model 3 Highland with closer to the start of its deliveries in Q4. Since the US is the only place where drivers can enjoy the Full Self-Driving Beta feature, Tesla may want to release the Model 3 Highland here with the complete Hardware 4.0 kit, too.
Crash and safety tests delay Model 3 Highland's US release
Corroborated by a second source, another reason for the delay in the Model 3 Highland US release is said to be the crash tests. Apparently, the "Crash and Safety builds will be prepped and tests performed before the end of October," leaving China and Europe with a big head start in Highland deliveries at a moment when the Fremont factory will still be churning out Model 3 Highland Release Candidates.
The first Cybertruck Release Candidate (RC) was announced by Tesla in mid-July, and the actual start of deliveries is only expected after mid-September. Meanwhile, those Cybertruck RC units were seen transported on trailers to and from crash test locations with covered fronts and the typical window or pillar markings.
Thus, once the Model 3 Highland RC units made in the Fremont factory start being crash-tested, there may still be more than two months before the actual launch, so a Tesla Model 3 Highland US release in Q1 sounds rather plausible.