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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Model 3 Catching a Midnight Snack

Courtesy Robert DeLucia @ www.vetaxi.com/
One of our local Facebook group members stopped at a Supercharger near St. Louis and caught a Model 3 munching electrons in the middle of the night.

Mr. DeLucia runs several livery services, including a collection of Tesla vehicles for his "White Glove" VETaxi service.  He was charging his Model X at the Effingham Supercharger in Illinois, when he noticed the covered car.  Long a follower of Tesla, he recognized immediately what it was.
Courtesy Robert DeLucia @ www.vetaxi.com/
The location is a curious one to find a Model 3 at.  It's somewhat remote, located between St. Louis and Indianapolis.  Interstate 70 is nearby and would suggest either this Model 3 was piling on miles coast to coast or perhaps heading to or from the Transportation Research Center.
TRC is a very large facility dedicated to testing cars and is commonly rented by manufacturers and federal agencies.  Rumors of a large fleet of release-candidate Model 3s prowling the secured facility have raised hopes that production is on schedule.

Why Tesla has been so careful about covering the Model 3 during charge sessions is curious.  The cars have been driven without camouflage and bearing clear Tesla badges for some time now, but rarely have they been parked without cover.

Even when Tesla was caught testing (what we think has become) Autopilot 2 hardware near Pittsburgh exactly one year ago, they didn't make any attempt to hide the new sensors while Supercharging.
Courtesy Robert DeLucia @ www.vetaxi.com/
One notable detail that is visible is the new charge port door design.  Whereas the doors on the Model S and Model X are hinged to open sideways towards the rear of the vehicle, the door on the Model 3 appears to be hinged at the top and opening upwards.  The door itself also appears much larger than the standard (and proprietary) Tesla connector.  Some have speculated that alternate standard charger sizes could be lurking there, but it seems more likely that Tesla is just sizing the door larger so adapting to international variations in plug design won't require as much modification during production.

Shortly after this picture was taken, another Model 3 was caught Supercharging without a cover on and a clearer view of the new charge port door.
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