Warning: loud wind noise to start!
This Tesla Model 3 prototype was spotted rolling down Interstate 280 in Palo Alto, California, not far from Tesla's headquarters (though about an hour from their Fremont manufacturing facility). Despite an unveiling a few months ago, the Model 3 has been a rare site in public, especially this matte black example.
This appears to the the same Model 3 prototype that was rolled out onto the stage during the Model 3 unveiling, right down to the door handles that are retractable Model S-style and not the pop-out lever design of the other Model 3 prototypes. It is wearing different wheels, though — these are more along the lines of the Turbine wheels available for the Model S.
Speaking of the Model S, yes, that's two of them serving as an escort for this rare prototype as it works its way through Silicon Valley traffic.
Redditor Jeff Klakring spotted the car and offered these impressions:
It looked almost as long as the Model S, but was definitely narrower.
From the rear, I think the back end isn't very interesting. Not bad, but nothing special.
From the side, the car is gorgeous. Very sleek, and not at all bulbous in the back like I was afraid of. Low slung, sporty, but still a uniqueness that I like.
Given that the driver is pushed further forward than in other cars, I was nervous that the front would look funny. I am pleased to see this was not the case at all. The front proportions looks great.
The front end has definitely been polarizing, but seeing it here made me like it more than in pictures. Not a worry for me anymore.
Overall, the car looks amazing in person. I have gone back and forth a bit with the pictures I've seen, but now I am absolutely sold on it.
We're still a long ways out from the Model 3 starting volume production in late 2017 and deliveries beginning, but as Tesla ramp up to that point there's no doubt we'll see more of the Model 3 rolling around the streets of California.