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Is Tesla about to unveil the Model 3 Ludicrous/Plaid? Leave a comment


Photos of a Tesla Model 3 under wraps have the internet speculating on whether an unveiling of the anticipated Ludicrous/Plaid upgrade to the Model 3 Performance is imminent.

Tesla recently refreshed the Model 3, and with it came several upgrades. However, one missing upgrade was the availability of a performance model, which has been absent ever since the refreshed “Highland” Model 3 hit the road.

We do know that Tesla has been working on an even-higher-performance version of the Model 3 Performance. We don’t know what it will be called, but it could go by “plaid” or “ludicrous” (both references to the movie Spaceballs, which Tesla has used to name its Model S/X high-performance versions).

We’ve seen leaks in Tesla’s parts catalog showing new wheels and plaid badging, and Tesla was spotted filming a promo for a Model 3 with a plaid badge on the back. We’ve also seen a few other small leaks (a stale mention in Tesla’s website code, regulatory filings in Europe and Korea) that point us towards this upgrade being in the works.

But now we have some indication that that upgrade could be happening soon, perhaps even on as unlikely a date as today, April 1.

Photos first appeared on Little Red Book, a Chinese social media app, showing several of the new refreshed Model 3s under wraps outside an event space, potentially in Southern California.

The many covered cars outside the event are clearly refreshed Model 3s, given the low nosecone, though we can’t see much else under the covers. But there’s one car inside that we have seen before, namely, it looks like the Model 3 from the aforementioned promo.

The vehicle under wraps inside the event space has the same color and wheels as the promo vehicle did, and the wheels match up with the leak from the parts catalog.

The photos were posted by user “Imtz,” who mostly posts photos of cars and lists their location as Los Angeles/Beijing (Tesla’s Design Studio is located in Los Angeles). The post is captioned with this (machine-translated from Chinese):

Know everything Tesla 3L

Some people are guessing when and where the new Model 3P, Model 3 Ludicrous, will be launched. It can only be said that it is closer than you think. See you on the 1st.

The real car has been seen, which is much different from the old 3p and the ordinary 3. The exterior and interior have changed. It’s still worth looking forward to.

The room for the event seems quite small compared to your typical Tesla unveiling, but does seem set up for some sort of presentation. The car in question is covered, but not with a loose sheet like in many car unveilings, rather a fitted car cover. But the mirrors haven’t been stuffed into the pockets on the car cover, perhaps to make it easier to remove the cover when the car is ready to be presented.

While we haven’t heard anything official about an upcoming Tesla event, there is actually some precedent for this. We also had no official notice of the Model 3 Highland refresh unveiling, which didn’t happen on US time and wasn’t a high-attendance/livestreamed event either.

And today is also the first day of a new quarter, right after Tesla’s traditional end-of-quarter delivery rush, and before delivery numbers get announced (which should happen in the next day or two). This could be a way to build momentum at the dawn of a new quarter, especially if those numbers aren’t up to expectations.

Electrek’s Take

April 1st (or, in the case of Voltswagen, March 29th) is a terrible day to write the news, as everyone wants to be a comedian these days. Fake announcements abound, so we always have put our guards up now – even a few days prior (thanks VW).

This is especially true when talking about a company that refuses to do anything normal in terms of publicity. We’d love to talk to Tesla and ask them if these pics are real and if they’re planning an event, but there just isn’t a way to do that. So maybe they’re planning an event or maybe they aren’t, but if they are, then the press hasn’t been told about it.

So instead we have to read the tea leaves and try to figure out if this is real or not.

While it might be tempting to chalk this up to an April Fools joke – and that indeed is still possible – April Fools’ Day is rarely celebrated in China, and a post written in Chinese on a Chinese social media app seems like a less likely place to put an April Fools joke. So given the evidence available, we’d put this as slightly more likely than not to be real, but as today is today, you never know.

Do you think Tesla is about to unveil the new Model 3 Performance/Ludicrous/Plaid? What do you think it will be called? Let us know in the comments.

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