Tesla Model 3 caught on video during daylight testing

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The emergence of spy photos, and more recently video, has always been one of the standard indicators of a car nearing production.

With production still said to start this July, pre-production versions of the Tesla Model 3 electric car should have been popping up in spy photos by now.

Two weeks ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted brief footage of what he called a "release candidate" Model 3 being tested.

WATCH THIS: First 'release candidate' Tesla Model 3 driven: video posted by Elon Musk

That test appeared to be in darkness, which might explain how Tesla's been testing its lower-cost, high-volume electric sedan.

To date, though, few images of Tesla Model 3s being tested in daylight have appeared—until yesterday.

A 98-second video clip from a dashcam, however, shows footage of a blue metallic Model 3 at speed, followed by a black Tesla Model S chase car.

Tesla Model 3 test car, Los Altos, CA, Apr 8, 2017 [clip from YouTube video by OMG_Tesla}

Tesla Model 3 test car, Los Altos, CA, Apr 8, 2017 [clip from YouTube video by OMG_Tesla}

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Shot by Tim Chaimungkla, and posted on YouTube under the name OMG_Tesla, the video itself is fairly simple.

A blue metallic Model 3 comes up on the left side, passes the videographer's car, and accelerates away.

CHECK OUT: Tesla Model 3 timing confirmed: first cars in July, 5K a week by next year

Then the car with the camera accelerates to catch up to it. As it drops back again, a black Tesla Model S chase car appears as well.

Finally, the camera car accelerates away again. The Tesla footage stops after the first 69; the last 29 seconds can be skipped.

First release candidate Tesla Model 3 electric car, from video tweeted by Elon Musk, March 2017

First release candidate Tesla Model 3 electric car, from video tweeted by Elon Musk, March 2017

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Electric-car advocate George Betak noted the footage was shot on the northbound side of Interstate 280, in Los Altos, California.

That's only about 6 miles from Tesla's Palo Alto headquarters, which is located relatively close to I-280.

DON'T MISS: Tesla Model 3: beta phase to be skipped, will go straight to production?

It's possible no drivers who've noticed Model 3s in traffic have had cameras with them. It's also possible that Tesla has just begun daylight testing of Model 3s.

It's even possible that Tesla deliberately released a Model 3 into daylight testing in hopes an article like this would appear.

Tesla Model 3 test car, Los Altos, CA, Apr 8, 2017 [clip from YouTube video by OMG_Tesla}

Tesla Model 3 test car, Los Altos, CA, Apr 8, 2017 [clip from YouTube video by OMG_Tesla}

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That would counter criticism on some financial and investing sites that no spy shots of pre-release Model 3s being tested had appeared.

With Tesla, as with Kremlinology, many competing theories are possible, even plausible, until the facts become known.

Regardless, Chaimungkla's video clearly shows a fairly finished Model 3 running competently on public roads—and both the location and the Model S chase car indicate a factory test vehicle.

READ THIS: Stern daddy Elon Musk: no central Model 3 speedo or head-up display for you!

What exactly that means for the July production start and the promised 5,000-car-a-week pace by the end of the year remains to be seen.

Still, this adds another piece of evidence to the idea that the Model 3 will in fact emerge this year.

Even if many of the 300,000-plus people who put down $1,000 deposits for a place in line to buy one will likely still have to wait up to two years to take delivery.

[hat tip: George Betak]

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