Tesla Model 3 Refresh Leaked Photo Reveals a New Steering Wheel

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Published on:
May 16, 2023
Updated on:
May 16, 2023

New footage of the much anticipated refreshed Tesla Model 3 has leaked, giving potential customers a peak of the interior for the first time. One of the most exciting features of this update is the new steering wheel which appears to be stalkless. The footage is filmed using a drone that flew over the vehicle, and as the door was left open, it captured the car's interior. The new steering wheel differs greatly from the one in the current Model 3. It is expected to be round and look like the one used in Model S and Model X, which famously uses force buttons.

This leak comes a few weeks after another prototype of the refreshed Model 3 was spotted in California. Despite the many signs pointing towards a refreshed Model 3, Tesla reportedly denies all rumors about the update despite there being video proof of the car being tested. 

New Tesla Model 3 Refresh Leaked Photo Reveals Steering Wheel

New Tesla Model 3 refresh leaked photo reveals steering wheel | Electrek

New footage for the refreshed Tesla Model 3 has just leaked, giving a sneak peek of the interior for the first time. Customers started hearing rumors about Project Highland for quite some time, and many believe it is a Model 3 refresh that is expected to come in the second half of 2023. There have also been several leaks that reveal the back bumper and front of the car. However, Tesla has not commented on the validity of either of the leaks. 

A new leak allegedly shows footage that seems to be filmed using a drone being flown over Tesla's test track at its Fremont factory. The Teslas are shown lined up, and one is camouflaged on the front and back. This is likely a refreshed Model 3 that Tesla is trying to keep under wraps. However, the door is open, showing off the interior, even though Tesla covered most of it. 

The new steering wheel is the most prominent feature as it differs from the one currently seen on the Model 3. It looks much closer to the round one available on the new Model S and Model X. These steering wheels use force touch buttons, replacing the regular stalks. The rest of the interior is barely visible, as Tesla seems to have covered it to prevent any leak. 

It is also likely that Tesla has changed up the dashboard design and texture, given that it is completely obscured from view. The video also shows the car being put into reverse gear, and the driver uses the on-screen scroll function to do so. This is just like the Model S and Model X, where the company switches to this new method of shifting gears because of the lack of stalks. 

The Alleged Round Steering Wheel on Model 3

Tesla Model 3 Refresh Details Leak: What We Know About Project 'Highland'

The steering wheel on the alleged refresh of the new Tesla Model 3 is much like the round option on the Model S and Model X. When Tesla revealed this new ‘yoke’ butterfly steering wheel, it was not met with approval.

Many were worried about the wheel's shape being problematic, while others were more concerned about the lack of a driver stalk, which would hamper the ability to choose the drive mode. To answer such concerns, Tesla offered the option of a round steering wheel and the backend of the configurator code. This was much preferred by users who enjoyed having the opportunity to choose the kind of steering wheel depending on how they drive. 

All the Prototypes Revealed So Far

Next-generation Tesla Model 3 spotted with design-refreshed front fascia  and Roadster-like headlights - Tesla Oracle

The new Tesla Model 3 Project Highland prototype has been spotted on the road in California, being tested before its launch. Rumors for this project started last year, and since then, there have been two leaks revealing the front and back bumpers of the car. In the most recent sighting, it is difficult to see any clear changes because of the camouflage covering the vehicle's front and back end. However, an earlier leak has shown off the facelifted Model 3 received. The design changes made for Project Highland are likely made to improve production efficiency and reduce the car's weight. 

Tesla Denying Rumors About New Model 3 Production

Despite the many rumors of Tesla’s Project Highland, Tesla China has reportedly denied it, saying that the rumored production is not happening. Recently, a rumor popped up online stating that Tesla would likely start producing its refreshed Model 3 EVs in China soon for its trial production. Some sources also claim that the company is preparing to mass-produce the refreshed electric vehicles. 

Tesla has yet to confirm the refresh, but it has repeatedly stated that it does not refresh its models and that they focus on improvements and updates. However, this has happened before with the current Model S and Model X versions. Therefore, it can be assumed that Tesla is simply hesitant to provide concrete details that may confirm all the leaks. 


The leaked footage of the new Tesla Model 3 has generated a lot of excitement among potential customers as it gives a glimpse of the interior, mainly the stalkless steering wheel that Tesla has adapted from its Model S and Model X. This steering wheel design incorporates force touch buttons, replacing the traditional stalks for shifting gears.

Despite Tesla's denial of any updates to the Model 3, the company’s silence on the matter leaves room for speculation, but the leaked footage and consistent leaks point towards an upcoming refresh for the popular Model 3.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Tesla Model 3 Steering Wheel Made Of?

The Tesla Model 3 and Y steering wheels have a circular design consistent with the original steering wheel. They are made using high-quality carbon fiber covered with leather. 

Can You Switch the Tesla Steering Wheel?

You can switch to a traditional round wheel if you own a refreshed Model S or Model X with a steering yoke.

What Kind of Steering Did Tesla Use?

For the Model S and Model X redesign, the company opted for a traditional steering wheel with control stalks replacing the singular yoke option with capacitive buttons.