The owner’s manual and parts catalog for the heavily updated 2024 Tesla Model 3 Highland, which was recently released on the European and Asian markets, have engaged fans in a serious “find Waldo” game. In this quest to surface fresh details, people have come across hints towards a high-performance version of the Model 3 Highland tentatively called Plaid or Ludicrous earlier this week. And now we may be looking at the first prototype sighting.
The story of the high-performance 2024 Model 3 Highland (Ludicrous/Plaid) version started when The Kilowatts discovered a reference to a performance iteration of the Model 3 Highland, including a badge that resembles the graphics that appear on the screen when Ludicrous mode is enabled.
Borrowing the Ludicrous name from a Model S performance upgrade would seem more likely than the expected new Model 3 version getting the Plaid moniker. That’s because Elon Musk has repeatedly stated Plaid is reserved for top-tier machines like the Model S and Model X.
In addition, a few days ago, Tesla Newswire discovered unreleased “Warp” wheels for the high-performance version of the Model 3 Highland in the service manual. Coming in 19- and 20-inch sizes, these wheels feature a minimalist design that hints at weight reduction. They also have additional holes that could be there for aero inserts/covers that would further reduce drag when heavy brake cooling is not required.
Here’s why we could be looking at the Tesla Model 3 Highland high-performance Ludicrous/Plaid prototype under those covers
A couple of days ago, Redditor RealPokePOP spotted an updated Model 3 test car close to Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters. Peeking through the covers that had drawn him to the vehicle in the first place, he noticed a new wheel design. Once the said Warp Wheels surfaced online, the Redditor made the connection to the Model 3 Highland high-performance (Ludicrous/Plaid) prototype, as the new design seems to be the same as that featured by the test vehicle.
“Spotted this highland being tested near Tesla’s Palo Alto HQ a few days ago which isn’t this abnormal but what I noticed from afar were the covered wheels and peaking through, a new design. Now today the Service Manual for Highland leaked and you can see the Warp Wheels are associated with the Performance/Plaid Model,” the man explains.
The covered front end of the spotted vehicle looks like another clue towards its Ludicrous/Plaid identity, as it would make sense to conceal a slightly revised front fascia for the go-faster version. As for the amber side reflectors visible up front, these point towards the US version of the Model 3 Highland.
You see, following the European and Asian arrival of the heavily updated Tesla Model 3 Highland, multiple reports talk about the new Tesla coming to the US in 2024 after the Palo Alto specialist is done introducing the Cybertruck.
A Ludicrous/Plaid version would further help “erase” some years off the Model 3, as the Highland update, which officially changes around 50% of the parts, arrives six years after the debut of the EV. After all, the stunning straight-line performance has always helped build the reputation of the Tesla, even though the vehicle gets driven much more efficiently most of the time.