Tesla Starts Delivering Its Model 3 in Europe and China

Tesla Starts Delivering Its Model 3 in Europe and China

While Enhanced Autopilot is standard for Model 3 vehicles ordered in China, for vehicles delivered in Europe the Autopilot is actually disabled, at least for the moment. Tesla announced it will be enabled soon

It’s been a year and a half now since US customers started getting their Model 3 orders, and now time has come for Tesla’s European customers to start getting their sedans. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The first shipment indeed arrived at the beginning of the week in Zeebrugge, a Belgian port, but upon arriving at the factory some pre-orders were not fulfilled. It seems that the company faced some “unexpected challenges,” as Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said. He also mentioned another shipment should arrive in the port in the next few days.

Moreover, even though some customers opted for the Autopilot driver assistance package, they will not be able to use it just yet due to the fact that the feature has not yet been approved by RDW, the vehicle authority in the Netherlands. However, a spokesperson for Tesla stated that they are expecting for the Autopilot to be enabled in Europe starting next week.

While vehicles being delivered to Europe have encountered different problems, those being delivered to Chinese customer will get the Enhanced Autopilot as standard for electric sedans, option available only for the Model 3, as seen on the company’s website. Reportedly this offer is only available in China for the moment, as stated by a sales representative.

This can only be seen as a sales tactic trying to convince customers to order the vehicle immediately since China is the world leading market for electric cars. It is also related to the ongoing trade war between China and the United States, as Musk himself stated in a recent Q4 2018 earnings call:

“We get them to China as fast as possible. In China, we were also – yes, we don’t know what’s going to happen with the trade negotiations. So that’s very important to get those cars, especially to China as soon as possible. We hope the trade negotiations go well, but it’s not clear. But we need to get them there while there’s sort of a de facto – sort of a truce on the tariff war.”

Even though Tesla stated they plan to deliver Model 3 cars in China starting March, a logistics source familiar with the matter stated the company has already sent two ships and at least one cargo plane with Model 3 vehicles to China.

Meanwhile, the Enhanced Autopilot strategy in China can be seen as a preview of the future, the company wanting to refine its vehicles autonomous driving features. Since Tesla intends to make the safest vehicles on the market it would not be surprising if in the future they made the Enhanced Autopilot standard for all their cars.