Tesla’s global assault with the Model 3 is set to hit its stride next year, as the electric car maker starts rolling out the vehicle to territories beyond the United States and Canada. In Europe, Tesla has recently invited Model 3 reservation holders to configure their vehicles, with the company setting an estimated delivery date of February 2019 for orders of the Model 3 Performance and the Long Range AWD.
Reports have now emerged from local media that Tesla would be shipping 3,000 vehicles per week to Europe starting February 2019. Belgian news agency Focus-WTV, for one, stated that the electric cars would be arriving every week in the port of Zeebrugge, which is located on the coast of Belgium (special thanks to Tesla owner-enthusiast Hans Noordsij, who tipped Teslarati off about the Focus-WTV report). The local news outlet noted that the electric cars are shipped through the services of transportation firm International Car Operators (ICO), which operates a site on the Zeebrugge docks.
ICO’s operations are particularly notable as the company uses RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) ships, which are capable of loading and unloading cargo in a quick manner. The transportation of Tesla’s vehicles from the United States to Zeebrugge will reportedly take about 15 days, with the route going through the Panama Canal. Upon arriving at the coastal port, the electric cars would be distributed across Tesla’s delivery centers in Europe. ICO is reportedly investing 2.5 million euros ($2.83 million) to accommodate the influx of Tesla’s vehicles as well.
Elon Musk has noted that Tesla is now at a point where it is capable of producing 5,000 Model 3 per week without straining its facilities or its workforce. That said, reports have emerged stating that Tesla is already closing in on a pace equal to 1,000 Model 3 per day. This was mentioned by Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, who noted that Tesla’s path towards higher production outputs seems to be clear. The Wall Street analyst even noted that Tesla is likely capable of hitting a pace equal to 7,000-10,000 Model 3 per week with limited CapEx.
“The road to 7,000 units per week seems easy, and limited capital expenditures will be required (in the low tens of millions) to get to 10,000. We don’t know for sure what demand will ultimately be, but we know that from here, Tesla will expand its price range, introduce leasing, and expand internationally. All these levers combined have a lot of depth and should be more than enough to get to 10,000 Model 3 per week at the end of next year,” Ferragu wrote.
With production of the Model 3 hitting sustainable levels, Tesla is now able to start preparing the vehicle for deliveries to foreign markets. Apart from Europe, Tesla has also opened the Model 3 configurator to reservation holders in China. The reception among Chinese electric car buyers has been notable so far, despite Tesla’s business in the country being weighed down by the 40% import tariffs placed on vehicles due to the US-China trade war. With recent reports stating that China will likely reduce import tariffs to just 15%, Tesla’s presence in the Chinese market would likely be even more notable in the coming quarters.
The Tesla Model 3 is a “bet-the-company” project, with Elon Musk putting the electric car maker’s future on the success of the electric sedan. Despite a trip through “production hell,” the Model 3 has been proving itself in the US market, ranking among the best-selling vehicles in the country over the past few months despite America’s preference for larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks. In foreign territories, the Model 3 might actually have even more potential, with Tesla noting in its Q3 2018 Update Letter that the mid-sized premium sedan market in Europe is “more than twice as big as the same segment in the US.” With this in mind, the auto industry would likely soon come to terms with the notion that while the electric sedan is already making waves in the US and Canada, the Model 3’s real potential has not even been fully tapped yet.