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Tesla roundup: Model 3 'Highland,' Semi truck milestone, FSD goes wide

Tesla (TSLA) stock is on the rise in early trade despite a broader market selloff, and general weakness in the stock lately. Here’s what’s moving Tesla today:

Updated Model 3 on the way?

According to reports from Reuters, Tesla is in the process of updating its Model 3 sedan, which first came out back in 2017. Codenamed project “Highland,” Tesla is aiming to cut production costs for the Model 3 and increase the appeal of the sedan by revamping the car's exterior, powertrain, and interior components, such as its massive center-console display. Tesla would reduce costs by reducing complexity overall.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JANUARY 09: Tesla Model 3 compact sedan car in white on display at Brussels Expo on January 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The Model 3 is fitted with a full self-driving system. (Photo by Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JANUARY 09: Tesla Model 3 compact sedan car in white on display at Brussels Expo on January 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The Model 3 is fitted with a full self-driving system. (Photo by Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)

Though the Model 3 has been periodically updated with under-the-skin enhancements to mechanical components and battery materials, this would be the first major revamp of the car, if it does go through. Premium Tesla models like the Model S and Model Y have been revamped with exterior styling, new touchscreen tablets, and yoke steering wheels.

Per Reuters, the redesigned Model 3 would go into production in Q3 2023 first at Tesla’s Giga Shanghai factory, then eventually at its main U.S. plant in Fremont, CA.

Tesla Semi conducts crucial test

With all eyes on Tesla’s biggest EV, the Tesla Semi, this week at its first delivery event at Giga Nevada, CEO Elon Musk confirmed the truck hit a big milestone.

In a tweet, Tesla Musk said the Semi completed a 500-mile drive with a full payload of 81,000 lbs.

The Tesla Semi is an all-electric Class 8 commercial tractor trailer, and the federally-allowed limit for Class 8 trucks is 80,000 total pounds of gross vehicle weight.

The Tesla Semi is on display at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility during the
The Tesla Semi is on display at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility during the "Cyber Rodeo" grand opening party on April 7, 2022 in Austin, Texas. - Tesla welcomed throngs of electric car lovers to Texas on April 7 for a huge party inaugurating a "gigafactory" the size of 100 professional soccer fields. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP) (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)

Based on Musk’s tweet, it is assumed that the Tesla Semi completed this 500-mile drive on one full charge, but this could not be confirmed. It is also not clear how much of the 81,000 lbs consisted of the Semi itself and its battery weight.

Nonetheless, it is a milestone for the Tesla Semi, which also debuted in 2017, and was supposed to go into production in 2019 but has subsequently suffered numerous delays.

Tesla will unveil the production version of the Semi at a delivery event this Thursday from Giga Nevada. Pepsi, Tesla’s first customer, confirmed with Yahoo Finance that its executives will be at the event. Media and the general public are not allowed at the event, though it will be streamed on Tesla’s YouTube channel.

Tesla full-self driving goes wide

A Tesla Model 3 vehicle drives on autopilot along the 405 highway in Westminster, California, U.S., March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Tesla Model 3 vehicle drives on autopilot along the 405 highway in Westminster, California, U.S., March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake

In a tweet late last week, Musk confirmed that Tesla’s full-self driving (FSD) beta software has been made available to anyone in North America.

The option for the FSD beta system is only available for those that purchased the option, currently costing $15,000.

FSD is an enhanced version of Tesla’s “autopilot” driver assistance system, which brings features like automated steering on non-highway roads, traffic light and signage recognition, parking assist and vehicle “summoning” from tight spaces.

The rollout of FSD beta comes at a time of increased scrutiny from the federal government. Along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation into multiple crashes of Tesla cars involving autopilot systems when coming upon accident scenes with first responders, the Department of Justice is reportedly conducting a criminal probe into whether Tesla knowingly made false claims over its automated driver systems like Autopilot and FSD.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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