HomeNews2024 Tesla Model 3 Plaid Spotted in Testing Near Palo Alto HQ

2024 Tesla Model 3 Plaid Spotted in Testing Near Palo Alto HQ

In a development that has sent ripples through the Tesla community, a 2024 Tesla Model 3 Plaid was recently spotted undergoing tests near Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters. This sighting alone would have been enough to fuel speculation, but it gains even more significance when considered alongside another recent leak. Tesla’s Service Manual for the Highland version of the Model 3 has also surfaced, providing tantalizing details that seem to corroborate what was observed at the Palo Alto site.

Together, these two pieces of information have reignited discussions and speculations about what Tesla has in store for its popular Model 3 line.

Tesla Model 3 Plaid Spotted
Picture Courtesy: u/RealPokePOP via Reddit

2024 Tesla Model 3 Plaid Spotted

In a quiet yet significant moment, a Tesla Model 3 Highland, speculated to be either a Plaid or Ludicrous Speed variant was seen undergoing tests near the company’s Palo Alto headquarters. What caught the attention of onlookers were its covered wheels, a detail that often indicates a new design or feature that the company wishes to keep under wraps for now.

Upon closer inspection, it was clear that the wheels were not just covered for the sake of it. Peeking through the covers was a new design, one that aligns with the recently leaked Collision Repair Manual for the Model 3 Highland.

This manual mentioned “Warp” wheels, adding another layer of intrigue to the sighting. The wheels are a critical component in any high-performance vehicle, and their design can offer clues about everything from aerodynamics to speed capabilities.

The sighting of this Model 3 Highland Plaid with its covered wheels and new design, adds more fuel to the fire of speculation. Is it a Plaid model, Tesla’s top-of-the-line performance variant, or could it be a Ludicrous Speed model, a level just below Plaid but still incredibly powerful? Either way, the sighting has certainly ramped up excitement and speculation about what could be the next big thing from Tesla.

Model 3 Plaid Wheel and Rim Details

According to the manual, these Plaid rims for the Model 3 Highland come in two sizes: 19” and 20”. This offers a range of options for potential buyers, catering to those who prioritize either performance or comfort.

Tesla Model 3 Plaid Wheel and Rim Details

But it’s not just the size that’s noteworthy; the color code for these rims is also specified as Incognito (code NEU-285E). This suggests a sleek and modern aesthetic, aligning with Tesla’s reputation for cutting-edge design.

Interestingly, these details seem to corroborate what is currently seen on the Model 3 Performance (M3P). The M3P also features 20″ rims and Pirelli tires, indicating that the new Highland model could be an evolution of the existing performance features rather than a complete overhaul. This alignment with current features adds an extra layer of credibility to the leaked information and makes the upcoming Model 3 variant all the more intriguing.

Tesla’s Parts Catalog Confirmation

Adding another layer of confirmation to the swirling rumors and leaks is Tesla’s own Parts Catalog. The catalog, a reliable source for upcoming features and models, has recently indicated that Tesla is indeed working on a Performance version of the new Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 Plaid Badge

However, upon further review of the available information, it appears that the vehicle might sport a Ludicrous Speed badge rather than a Plaid badge. This is a significant detail, as Ludicrous Speed is a level just below Plaid in Tesla’s performance hierarchy. While Plaid models typically feature a tri-motor setup, a Ludicrous Speed badge suggests that the upcoming Model 3 variant could likely have a dual-motor configuration.

This revelation from Tesla’s Parts Catalog aligns with other leaks and sightings, providing a more comprehensive picture of what to expect. The Parts Catalog has added substantial weight to the idea that a Model 3 Plaid or Ludicrous is in the works, and it’s only a matter of time before Tesla makes an official announcement.

Changes in Tesla Model 3 Plaid

While the focus has largely been on the wheel and rim details, the upcoming Model 3 variant—whether it ends up being a Plaid or Ludicrous Speed model promises to bring a host of other exciting features to the table. According to various leaks and insider information, the new Model 3 Plaid is expected to feature a revamped suspension system designed for high performance. This could offer improved handling and ride comfort, making it a versatile choice for both daily commuting and spirited driving.

In addition to the suspension, new sport brakes are also on the horizon. Given that the vehicle is expected to be a high-performance model, robust and responsive braking is a must. These new sport brakes would likely offer better stopping power and heat dissipation, essential features for any car aiming to break performance barriers.

But let’s circle back to the wheels for a moment. The new wheel design, described as minimalist and lightweight, marks a departure from Tesla’s previous designs. A lighter wheel can improve everything from acceleration to efficiency, making it a critical component in a high-performance vehicle. The minimalist design also aligns with Tesla’s overall aesthetic, which often leans towards sleek and modern.


As we delve into the details and speculations surrounding the new Model 3 Plaid variant, it’s important to consider the words of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Nearly a year ago, Musk explicitly stated that there would be no Plaid version of the Model 3. At the time, he indicated that the Plaid moniker would be reserved for Tesla’s flagship models like the Model S and Model X.

However, the fast-paced world of electric vehicles is one where statements can quickly become outdated. Given the recent leaks, sightings, and official catalog entries, Musk’s year-old comment now seems to be part of a larger, evolving narrative. While it may have been true at the time, the current evidence suggests that Tesla could very well be working on a high-performance Model 3, whether it’s branded as Plaid or Ludicrous Speed.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of leaks, sightings, and official confirmations, all pointing towards a high-performance variant of Tesla’s Model 3. From the Highland sighting near Tesla’s Palo Alto HQ to the detailed leaks about wheel designs and additional features, the evidence is stacking up. Even Elon Musk’s past comments, which seemed to deny the possibility of a Model 3 Plaid, are now just a piece of a much larger and more complex puzzle.

What does all this mean for Tesla and the broader EV market? If the rumors and leaks are to be believed, Tesla is on the verge of setting a new performance benchmark with its upcoming Model 3 variant. Whether it’s a Plaid or Ludicrous Speed model, the impact on the electric vehicle sector could be profound, pushing other automakers to catch up and setting new expectations for what an electric car can achieve.

Saurav Revankar
Saurav Revankar
Saurav is a distinguished expert in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, known for his in-depth knowledge and passion for sustainable technology. With a particular focus on Tesla, he provides insightful analysis and comprehensive reviews that make complex EV topics accessible and engaging.


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