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Tesla Model 3's new, Model Y-like frunk might mean more range

The new frunk may foreshadow a heat pump upgrade, which could boost range when driving in cold temperatures.

Tesla Alaska Testing Facility
A heat pump will be excellent for cold weather.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

It appears Tesla is quietly preparing for a major improvement to the Model 3, hiding underneath a subtly redesigned frunk, or the front trunk.

Photos sent to a Canadian Tesla fan site of a newly delivered Model 3 showcase a redesigned frunk area. Not only is the frunk redesigned, but it matches the Model Y's. And what's one notable feature the Model Y includes and the Model 3 thus far hasn't? A heat pump.

That's led the owner to speculate the change comes in preparation for a heat pump installed to mimic the Model Y's design. The two electric cars share a platform after all, so the change likely wouldn't be anything too drastic. It's likely Tesla's preparing to roll the option out, but sent the engineering and design to production already. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The change also reveals a narrower frunk, though it's deeper now. Again, the reduced width suggests Tesla needed space for something else. Like a heat pump.

Why's a heat pump such a big deal? Well, foremost, it helps create a more efficient EV. Instead of the battery using its energy to create heat for the climate control system, a heat pump can simply take heat as a byproduct from other parts of the car and send it to the HVAC system. It's especially helpful for those driving EVs in cold weather. Range often suffers as the car's battery works to provide energy for numerous different things.

We'll keep an eye out for any sort of official announcement, but it seems pretty clear the Model 3 is in for a heat pump-sized upgrade.

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