The Tesla Model 3 is getting another upgrade. On Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk revealed the company is still pursuing plans to release a set of wheels first demonstrated at the original March 2016 unveiling.
The move, confirmed by Musk on his Twitter page, is the latest in a line of upgrades announced by the CEO over the course of the past few days. Over the weekend, Tesla rolled out the first new editions of the Model 3 since it started production in July 2017, with an all-wheel drive and performance model joining the roster. Musk also confirmed plans to release a white interior option, all-weather floor mats and more powerful supercharging stations.
Electrek notes that patent applications show the wheels in question were designed by Joonas Vartola, who left the company in 2016 to work independently as a designer in Finland, as well as chief designer Franz Von Holzhausen
It’s one of three designs originally demonstrated at the unveiling. Another one shown was the 18-inch “aero wheels” — so named because of their aerodynamic covers that offer a 4.3 percent efficiency boost — designed by Von Holzhausen and design manager Bernard Lee, which ships on the final version of the Model 3 as standard. The third version is the 19-inch sports wheels, designed by Von Holzhausen and design manager David Imai, available as a $1,500 optional extra on the final car.
Unfortunately, those looking to switch the wheels soon are in for a long wait. Musk wrote that the company “will do it later this year,” as he has “too much on plate right now.” The wheels “will be available as an upgrade from service.”
The company has a busy road ahead. Beyond performance upgrades and new wheels, Tesla has yet to start shipping lower-range versions of its electric vehicle as the base $35,000 price range. Current models come with the long-range upgrade and premium package as standard, and Musk is focusing on this lucrative sector as it ramps up production to fulfill the pre-orders of its 400,000 or so customers.
There may be a long wait before the cheaper version starts shipping. Musk said this week that shipping the minimum cost model right now would cause the company to “lose money and die,” with a more likely shipping date around three to six months after the company reaches a production rate of 5,000 per week.