Time is ticking on Tesla's long-awaited Model 3. The purportedly affordable midsize Tesla—$35,000 is the target price—is slated to begin production this summer, even though Tesla hasn't yet finalized the "beta prototype" that will precede the final production design.
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That's why we're a little surprised to see this rather complete-looking Model 3 prototype scooting around the electric carmaker's Hawthorne, California design center. Looks aren't everything, but this thing appears to be rather close to a production-ready design.
This video was shot by the folks at neighboring the automaker's design studios. The Model 3 prototype seen here has all the stuff you'd expect on a ready-for-primetime car—including DOT reflectors and functional-looking front, rear, and side lighting.
That said, this probably isn't representative of exactly how the Model 3 will end up looking. Close examination hints that this is probably one of the same Model 3 prototypes that R&T got to ride in at the car's preliminary unveiling in April 2016. The details are nearly identical to the cars we saw nearly a year ago—and given that Tesla has nearly guaranteed that the final design will change from last year's prototype, we're pretty confident that this isn't the final look for the Model 3.
Still, given how close we are to the planned production kickoff for the Model 3, it's got to be heartening to at least see some evidence of progress with the car—particularly if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Tesla fans who put down a reservation on the upcoming model.