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Tesla prepares Model 3 production for upcoming European expansion

The Tesla Model 3 is taking over North America as it not only dominates electric vehicle sales, but it is also leading its segment against gas-powered cars.

Now Tesla is preparing to expand to Europe with the Model 3 and in order to do that, it is starting to produce a few European Model 3 vehicles.

European and North American vehicles are mostly the same.

The main difference is the charge port.

In the US, Tesla uses its proprietary plug, while in Europe, the automaker uses a modified version of the standard Mennekes Type 2 plug.

There are also smaller differences to pass the European homologation process and those changes add up to make significant enough production changes that Tesla delayed the European launch until they have things figured out in North America first.

But there’s now evidence that Tesla is preparing production for a European launch of the Model 3.

A few weeks ago, Tesla registered the first Model 3 VINs for the European market and this week, the automaker did another batch:

The two batches hint at Tesla testing European Model 3 production ahead of the expansion of the vehicle in the market.

A few months ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the Model 3 international expansion is pushed to early and mid 2019.

That’s still a few months away, but Tesla could use the cars for the homologation process or some safety test with European authorities.

Those cars actually wouldn’t be the first Model 3 vehicles in Europe.

Early Model 3’s were spotted in Europe as soon as September 2017 – just months after low volume production started and the automaker delivered a few cars to employees.

We suspected that a few early vehicles were purchased by European automakers to benchmark and reverse-engineer, which was later confirmed by a German engineering firm.

Tesla employees were also spotted with their own Model 3 in Germany and they reportedly had a charging adapter for the US plug.

In early 2018, we also started seeing Model 3 vehicles showing up for sale in Europe on the gray market as importers started raiding the used market in the US to get the popular vehicles on the old continent.

Electrek’s Take

The European launch has seen delays due to the slower than anticipated Model 3 production ramp up, but it looks like things are finally lining up for it.

The good news is that it is hitting the continent with a much higher production capacity, which means that the wait shouldn’t be too long once the first vehicles start to be delivered.

But there are also some questions about the European launch.

For example, early Model 3 Performance buyers in North America were able to benefit from free unlimited Supercharging through the referral program, but Tesla has now ended the incentive (aside for inventory vehicles during the last week of the quarter).

It would only be fair for them to bring it back for the initial launch in Europe.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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