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Tesla Model 3 Using Cameras Instead Of Side Mirrors Is A Bit Of A Mystery

Key Takeaways

  • A Tesla Model 3 was spied with modified cameras and no side mirrors.
  • There are also cameras inside the vehicle and a modified trunk camera.
  • This could show off a future Model 3, or maybe even the robotaxi.

A Tesla Model 3 has been caught testing with a different setup than normal. The vehicle was seen out on the freeway in Palo Alto, California ,with Texas manufacturer plates and a few important pieces either missing entirely or moved around, according to a tweet from Nic Cruz Patane.

Missing altogether from what appears to be a test mule are side mirrors. Instead, the repeater cameras stick out a bit more than usual. This provides a better view along the side of the car, which could make them a solid replacement for mirrors.


No Side Mirrors

The idea of ditching side mirrors isn’t new. Tesla initially showed off its Cybertruck without any side mirrors, but had to include them for the production version to meet safety regulations. Getting rid of them would not only eliminate the chances of accidentally knocking them off, but would also help improve aerodynamics. That last bit would help extend range, so losing the side mirrors holds lots of appeal.

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On this Model 3, there are a couple of possibilities. It could be that Tesla is working on a way to eliminate the side mirrors on future models, relying on external cameras to display an image on interior screens. Automakers have been working on this technology for years in an effort to make it safe and effective.


New BMW Digital Side Mirrors Will Eliminate Blind Spots

New camera angles and clever image processing can provide a driver with a panoramic view around the rear of their vehicle.

Tesla Model 3 Interior Cameras

Robotaxi Or Next Model 3?

This setup usually includes screens inside the car, generally near the A-pillar, but you don’t see that in the Model 3 in these images. It could be that the display is on the center screen. Another possibility is that this could be something for the upcoming Tesla robotaxi, which would need the cameras to see around itself, but wouldn’t require a display for a driver that doesn’t exist.

2025 Tesla Model-3-Performance
2025 Tesla Model 3 Performance




Dual-Motor Electric


510 hp


547 lb-ft

0-60 MPH

2.9 Seconds


All-Wheel Drive

Curb Weight

4,054 lbs

Top Speed

163 mph

In addition to the modified repeater cameras, the exterior B-pillar cameras are now inside the car looking out through the back windows and the trunk camera is slightly higher. There’s a lot happening with this Model 3. Elon Musk has said that getting rid of the side and rearview mirrors was a company goal, but he didn’t give a timeline. That could be what we’re seeing here.

Tesla Model 3 Rear Camera

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