Photo: Michael Ballaban

If you’re like me, you may have been unreasonably excited to see that Tesla was flaunting its new Model 3 in a bright shade of red when it invited journalists out to see it’s Gigafactory earlier this week. The same red Model 3 is at tonight’s public grand opening of the Gigafactory—too bad it’s not a real car.

A photo of the car taken by Electrek shows that the gorgeous Model 3 in red is actually just a shell, which was highlighted by Seeking Alpha and brought to my attention by the always-woke Ed Niedermeyer on Twitter:

Electrek told Seeking Alpha that the photo seen above is indeed the same red Model 3 that’s been all over automotive and tech news outlets following the Gigafactory tour this week.

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It should be pointed out that this “shell” likely isn’t for aerodynamic studies on the design of the car either, as the giant hole underneath the car would catch a lot of wind in a tunnel.

Of course Tesla does have functioning prototypes of the car—we’ve ridden in them at the reveal event for the Model 3 back in April.

Does any of this really matter? No. Maybe Tesla just wanted to see a full size mockup of the car in red, and you know what, so did I.

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You can watch a live-stream of the public Gigafactory grand opening over on Tesla’s website right now.

Update: Here’s a Facebook bootleg from Tesla of Musk answering questions because the YouTube stream never really got working properly:

Photo: Michael Ballaban
Photo: Michael Ballaban