On Thursday, video emerged of a scene straight out of Elon Musk’s dreams: a beautiful Tesla Model 3 prototype cruising down a sunny California street right next to SpaceX’s hyperloop test track in Hawthorne. The $35,000 entry-level electric vehicle isn’t set to enter production until the summer, but Musk’s big play for the mass market has been making guest appearances at a number of events and venues. On Thursday, the upcoming car was spotted at SpaceX’s hyperloop test track. Unplugged Performance, a Hawthorne-based company that produces upgrades for Tesla vehicles, spotted the prototype cruising around the nearby area.
Model 3 prototype appearances are rare, but since the April 2016 unveiling, there have been a few notable cases. At a company party in November, an eagle-eyed reporter spotted a Model 3 and gave us a glimpse of how the car’s pedals will look. In January, the car made an appearance at the Gigafactory during an investor event.
In the video posted to Instagram, the car is seen passing past the SpaceX hyperloop track. The track recently played host to a pod design competition, where contestants designed vehicles suitable for the tube-shaped train system of the future. Musk’s original paper outlining the idea claimed that a vacuum-sealed hyperloop track could see speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. The Model 3 may pave the way for an electric vehicle future, but it probably won’t reach those sorts of speeds.
There are still a lot of unknowns about the Model 3, like where the speedometer will sit. Musk has stated before that to cut costs, the car will only feature one computer and screen, instead of the two found in the Model S and Model X. Demonstration models have shown the car has one screen above the central console, but it’s still unclear where the instrument cluster will be placed. Some think it could display on the central unit, while others think it could have a basic LED-based setup on the driver’s side. Hopefully, all will become clear as production approaches.
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