Model 3 Testing - updates and comments

Model 3 Testing - updates and comments

Started this thread as a place to post spy shots -- but now I'd like to convert it into a discussion about the many photo's and videos taken of the various Model 3 release candidates roaming this earth. I will post my next comment below. Happy chatting.....

Hey all - I live in Atlanta so not much testing goes on here. A few months before the Model X was launched, I was in the Bay area and spotted one of the Model X test mules driving along I680. I took several pictures and posted them on a few sites who also spotted this vehicle. My question is -- has ANYONE seen any Model 3 test mules out there yet? (other than the ones at the reveal). If Tesla is to hit their production date this summer, test mules will need to be spotted on the streets SOON. Anyone in CA -- especially near the Fremont factory seen one? I have hear rumors they are testing the drivetrain using a Model S body -- but that seems hard for me to believe. ANY feedback is greatly appreciated.

mntlvr23 | January 27, 2017

I would guess not yet. Once they are seen, these boards will be jumping. Hopefully very soon.

noleaf4me | January 27, 2017

I also heard rumors they may be testing in Australia -- anyone from down under on these boards?

Frank99 | January 27, 2017

I thought I saw one...three or four months ago here in Phoenix. Not having heard of another sighting, I've put it down as a misidentified Model X from four lanes away at 75 mph with nothing around it to give a size perspective.

jzambrano1017 | January 27, 2017

I feel like I've seen a few posts here and there about potential sightings across the US, but there's never any evidence of it. Chances are a misidentified Model X.

akgolf | January 27, 2017

They were weather balloons.

noleaf4me | January 27, 2017

Hard to believe you could mistake a Model X for a Model 3 -- weather balloon maybe....

bobinseattle | January 27, 2017

I have a friend here in Seattle, that says he has seen one or two on the road here, and took photos of them. I haven't seen the photos. But, he swears they were model 3's.

Bob in Seattle

soakes | January 27, 2017

"Australia -- anyone from down under on these boards?"
Yes, quite a few of us. I also heard that rumour, but it doesn't mean I have any more hope of seeing one than you do!

Frank99 | January 27, 2017

From a distance with no size comparisons available, an S is short and w-i-d-e, and an X looks tall and narrow. I knew that what I saw wasn't an S, because I see half a dozen of them passing me by on the freeway every morning; but X's are still rare - maybe one a week. What I saw was unmistakably a Tesla, unmistakably wasn't an S, but looked too small for an X. But, the only thing close to it was a 20' tall freeway wall next to it, which probably made it look smaller than it was.

KP in NPT | January 27, 2017

The X looks small from a distance without perspective. The first time I saw one in the wild, it was in my rearview and I thought it was a new Prius. (which I'd not seen at that point, either.) Not until it got closer and I could make out the mustache did I realize what it was.

noleaf4me | January 28, 2017

Bob in Seattle - any chance you friend can get these photo's posted somewhere?

noleaf4me | January 28, 2017

Thanks everyone for their responses -- I'm just dying to see one in the wild!

Shesmyne2 | January 29, 2017

None in the wild in Bay Area- just videos from Reno test drives!


Still Grinning ;-)

jordanrichard | January 30, 2017

From what we all know, the only thing visually that will be different on the production version of the car is the nose and trunk lid. So if Tesla wants to hide those items on any test mules, it would be easy. There will be no need to use a MS frame/body to test anything from the M3. It is also like it was in the very early stages of develop fo the MS where Tesla used the body of a Mercedes CLS to test the MS's platform and did all of their real world testing without anyone knowing it.

massimob30 | January 30, 2017

Nothing yet in Los Angeles, and I'm on the lookout.

JeffreyR | January 30, 2017

We have our eyes peeled from LG (17) to SJ (280) everyday after school. The Twins get bonus points for X's and Roadsters. Still no M3s to report.

Badbot | January 30, 2017

I was driving by fort Huachuca and I thought I saw a weather balloon could it have been a M3 ?

Nexxus | January 31, 2017

Since Elon has Trump's ear now, Trump is letting him use Area 51 to test his EV's.!! :)

Frank99 | January 31, 2017

Driving into work this morning, I'd like to officially report that I saw...nothing. Lots of ICEs, a couple of Model S's, but no Model 3's. Sigh.

roadkill | January 31, 2017

Nexxus: "Since Elon has Trump's ear now, Trump is letting him use Area 51 to test his EV's.!! :)

good one. Made me laugh

johnse | January 31, 2017

They're testing them inside the hyperloop test track :)

noleaf4me | January 31, 2017

Great comments all -- but they are going to need to test production ready units to test all the functionality -- maybe they are putting a model S body on the M3 frame to test the drive train - but all the other functional components need the real fear is that it will be 6 months from the time we start spotting them until they are we need see them soon!!!

JeffreyR | January 31, 2017

They probably want to test the M3 w/ GF-01 battery packs too. So we are waiting for those too.

vpoz | February 2, 2017

FWIW Friend of mine who's seen my MS was convinced he saw a much smaller version of my car at a charging point in the NE of England... mentioned it down the pub and the guys said new cars are often brought up to our neck of the woods for a quick spin pre release.

bj | February 4, 2017

I'd be very skeptical of any sightings without photographic evidence. Humans can be notoriously unreliable witnesses.

boiler81 | February 4, 2017

Not encouraging that no Beta prototypes have been sighted yet. Several other auto makers have had their disguised 2018 models photographed doing cold weather testing. Maybe the Tesla/SpaceX employees cars will be the test mules.

Efontana | February 4, 2017

I like the England story.

noleaf4me | February 5, 2017

Keep those eyes open everyone!!!

vpoz | February 5, 2017

@ noleaf4me .. and keep the phone camera ready!
@ efontana .. it was vv frustrating, the guy who described the small tesla isn't really a car guy, so didn't think to take a pic with the smartphone he has on him all the time and takes pics of other stuff of interest to him, to show later.
Just happened to notice it since he was near it, he's seen my MS, and the EV charging slots are prominent.

noleaf4me | February 6, 2017

vpoz - my camera is always ready - but I doubt I will see one in Atlanta anytime soon.....

bj | February 8, 2017

A new "exclusive" article from Electrek has just been published:

It reports that "sources confirmed to Electrek that Tesla has been testing third generation systems in a Model 3 test mule configured with dual motors and a 70 kWh battery pack, which would make it a “Model 3 70D”.

So it seems the mules (or perhaps mule) are now out! It's happening people!!

noleaf4me | February 8, 2017

This indeed is AWESOME news. Add to it that Tesla looks to be planning prototype production Feb 20 -- I would expect we will begin seeing MANY on the roads soon! | February 9, 2017

Keep in mind, in car lingo, a mule is normally hardware installed inside a different car. For example, they may take a Model S, and stick in the Model 3 drivetrain/battery. Often companies will even use some other manufacturer's car for the mule. Generally whatever is the easiest to do a hack modification to fit in the hardware to test. The body is not part of these early tests as making prototype bodies is super expensive.

noleaf4me | February 9, 2017
Efontana | February 9, 2017

Is the a bad looking car?

Whatever options this one has, seems reasonable to me.

Frank99 | February 9, 2017

That looks like a computer rendering to me, rather than reality. I ain't an expert, so I could be wrong, but ...

JeffreyR | February 9, 2017

The one that looks like CG is a touched up version from photo shoot. I believe it was taken near GG Bridge. The matte black is from an old video taken on 280.

Efontana | February 10, 2017

If CG, they did a really nice job with the multiple panes of glass. The green house looks very comfortable for rear seat passengers. Not so much sensory deprivation that they feel like luggage.

vpoz | February 10, 2017

@noleaf4me ... it's a new reason to take the MS out for a spin... "Just out looking for some 3's dear"

noleaf4me | February 10, 2017

I wish I had that issue! I drove the MS a few times - way better than my leaf!!! (but the Leaf was better on the budget) | February 10, 2017

I don't think Tesla will be using test mules with the M3. Elon is so delighted with the Beta testing of features by customers that he is just going to start making the M3 and wait for customers to test them, just like the Model X.

melinda.v | February 11, 2017

noleaf4me - insideEVs Palo Alto freeway pix was the one from last June, not a new sighting

noleaf4me | February 16, 2017

George -- I saw Model X mules on the road way before the launch date. Im in the UK this week and unfortunately no M3's to report there ;-)

Thanks Melinda -- did not know that.

Frank99 | February 16, 2017

A couple coworkers who carpool together dropped by my cube today, and commented: "Those Model 3's are elegant little cars". When I asked where they'd seen one, the answer was they'd seen them a couple of times in the last week driving on their commute - a Red one and a Gloss Black one. They were absolutely sure that they were Model 3's, and not X's or S's.

I told them that if there were no pictures, it didn't happen, and that they could probably sell any pictures they got. They promised they'd try the next time they see one. I know, I know, here I am crying "wolf" again. I have a strong desire to knock off for the rest of the afternoon and go driving around with my Cellphone in one hand...

kwen197 | February 16, 2017

PDXTESLA a Portland OR owners group posted episode of Model 3 Owners Club Show that mentioned that Fremont
is in the process of building a Model 3 line during the February factory shut down with a new high throughput paint room. They plan to make small production run to test the whole manufacturing process.
Also first production units for sale will be single motor and smaller battery.
Their guess on battery sizes is 55 KWH to 70 KWH with range 215 to 300 miles. Duel motors will start shipping in the 2nd quarter of production.
The big new thing is they built a Ludicrous model 3 mule that did 0 to 60 in 2.0 seconds

noleaf4me | February 17, 2017

Frank99 -- go get them pic's!!!!

noleaf4me | February 20, 2017

Anyone hear if Tesla actually began testing out the M3 production line today as was rumored? If so -- I hope to see test cars on the road REALLY SOON! Please post if anyone has any insight. Thanks!!

dsvick | February 20, 2017

I was under the impression that the shutdown started today. As far as I know the production start is just a rumor, as yet unconfirmed by Tesla. I would expect we'll find out for sure Wednesday.

noleaf4me | February 21, 2017

dsvick - do you know when their announcement is scheduled for tomorrow?

dsvick | February 21, 2017

It's scheduled for 2:30PM PST.