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Leaked picture from inside Tesla shows possible Model 3 prototype and large shipment of Powerwalls

leak tesla nl watermark

A picture leaked from inside Tesla in the Netherlands, either from the Amsterdam service center or the Tilburg assembly plant, shows what could be a new vehicle and large shipment of Powerwall battery packs.

The picture was posted to Reddit yesterday before being quickly removed. The original poster even deleted his account, but not before Electrek managed to get a copy.

Before deleting his Reddit account, the poster said the picture was taken by a Tesla employee who couldn’t himself identify the vehicle at the bottom of the picture. He also said that it was taken during a visit at Tesla’s new assembly factory in Tilburg, but based on the configuration of the lifts and the massive ‘Tesla’ logo on the background, it looks like might be Tesla’s Amsterdam service center, which is located about an hour and half drive away from the Tilburg plant.

You can see the full picture below and a cropped version above featuring a glimpse of a vehicle we can’t exactly identify:

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The picture features what appears to be a significant shipment of Powerwalls. The crates seem to match the custom crates we recently spotted and which you can see in details in our “How to install a Tesla Powerwall” article. The home battery packs being in the Netherlands makes sense since Tesla signed a deal with Eneco to bring the Tesla Powerwall to the Benelux (Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg) in “early 2016”. Also, the Vice President of Tesla Energy for Europe and Africa is based in the Netherlands.

We count about 50 units in the shipment, which would be noteworthy on its own, but the picture becomes even more interesting when looking at the vehicle at the bottom.

Before removing the picture, the originator of the leak claimed it was a “new model” from Tesla, which logically could only be the Model 3 or Y since those are only upcoming vehicles currently planned for Tesla’s lineup. We are not confident enough to say that it is a new model, but we can’t disprove it with certainty either. Here’s our analysis of the image.

The most probable explanation is that the vehicle is a Model S tuned by Saleen. The hood looks very similar to the kit Saleen unveiled for the Model S in 2014. They both have the same four lines and the two fake air intakes near the windshield. Here are side by side pictures:

The hood does look significantly shorter on the leaked picture, but it could be explained by the angle and some distortion. Based on the reflection appearing on the bottom left corner of the original picture, it looks like it might have been taken through a window, which could accentuate the distortion.

Here’s a picture of a regular Model S from a similar angle:

Model S from bird eye view

The angle and distortion could explain the shorter hood and steeper angle of the windshield, though it does appear significantly steeper on the leaked picture.

The panoramic roof is also similar, if not identical to the Model S’, which further leads us to believe it could be a tuned-Model S.

Of course, it raises the question of “why would a Saleen-tuned Model S be in a Tesla service center in the Netherlands?” Only a very limited numbers of Model S’s are believed to have been tuned by Saleen, which is based in California, and Tesla has nothing to do with the tuning. Either Saleen or the car owner buy a Model S from Tesla and then Saleen adds its aftermarket parts.

But yet I suppose that “why would a Model 3 prototype be in a Tesla service center in the Netherlands?” is just as valid of a question. We are still about two months away from the unveiling and at this point, prototypes would be expected to only be under-wrap at Tesla’s Design Studio in Hawthorne, California.

A lot of questions for such a simple picture. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. Seth Weintraub - 7 years ago

    Could also be the Mercedes B-Class wagon which has Tesla Drivetrain

  2. Dex - 7 years ago

    BMW X6

  3. Dafty Punk - 7 years ago

    Regardless of what it actually is, it almost certainly is NOT a model 3. There is next to no reason for the M3 to be at that location, and if (for what ever reason) it was at that location, there would be zero chance it would be completely uncovered and in plain sight to civilians.

  4. Me - 7 years ago

    Excellent detective work. This is why I visit this site.

  5. Trev Page - 7 years ago

    That’s a Saleen Model S. There’s absolutely no way the Model 3 prototype has been outside the Hawthorne design studio. Tesla is keeping the lid on this thing extremely tight. Might as well be Area 51 over there.

  6. amgibbo - 7 years ago

    Saleen Model S. Identical hood vents, plus the same Model S pano roof.

  7. florinnica - 7 years ago

    Why would Model 3 (or any other Tesla car) have fake air vents? Seriously…

  8. hobowankenobi - 7 years ago

    Look at the spokes on the wheel…..Saleen.

    Agreed: No way it is a prototype uncovered, undisguised, just sitting there in a warehouse among shipments, workers, and customer cars getting prepped.

  9. BEP - 7 years ago

    Plot twist: the Model 3 will be entirely designed by Saleen.
    Jokes aside, I don’t think they are able to build Model 3 prototypes in the design studio. The name says it all. It’s not a factory. They have to build it in Fremont.

    • Crimcrab - 7 years ago

      A prototype does not require a factory, in fact it’s quite the opposite. In order to build any product in a factory you need a prototype first, to figure out how to efficiently assemble and mass produce the product.

      • BEP - 7 years ago

        I’m not saying they are building prototypes on the main production lines. I’m just thinking about all those parts they are developing: the new electric motor, the various body panels and structural elements, batteries, … I don’t think they build those things in Hawthorne.

  10. Marco - 7 years ago

    There is a Saleen Model S in the Netherlands. Seenweblink below.

  11. Alexander I Shaskevich - 7 years ago

    The Model 3 will be unvieled at the Geneva Auto Show on March 3, and this was in the Netherlands so they vehicle was shipped from Fremont to Tilburg to save costs. And Tesla will not ship a Saleen version and keep it in its facility.

    Logical conclusion, it is the Model 3 that is on its way to the Geneva Auto Show.

    • John B - 7 years ago

      I don’t see a lot of logic here. If it is a Model S, then it’s a “weird mobile”.

    • John B - 7 years ago

      Needless to say, if it is Model 3 it’s also a “weird mobile”.

  12. Tom - 7 years ago

    Well, it could be the facelift Model S that will be presented in Geneva after Model 3 reveal!!

  13. kijijigod - 7 years ago

    Hey, you guys got it all wrong…. See the taped-off area? This is a picture of where the model 3 was parked just 2 minutes before the picture was taken.

    And how is a stack of approxiametedly 36 power walls significant (when a residence can have 6 + daisy chained together)? Show me a warehouse with 5000, then it might be post-worthy. I feel victimized by the click bait.

  14. xprzemolix - 7 years ago

    If the car should be uncorked in March, shouldn’t it come from USA by boat EARLIER?

    It sound a little less people bable then simpler version. Saleen tuned S bought by Netherlander needed servicing 😉

    On the other hand I would expect Model 3 to look less “wow” then S or X. But maybe Tesla really need volume so they could make cheaper model even more “sexy” 😉

  15. Tony Collings - 7 years ago

    I think it’s this…. – Check out the lights and hood.

  16. Sebastien - 7 years ago

    A Tesla employee got fired because of this I heard, apparently they were accused of leaking this photo…my question is why on earth would a Tesla employee leak this when it is clearly obvious that it was not a model 3


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