Tesla Model 3 appears to join Model Y in export from China to Canada

Credit: Tesla Greater China/Twitter

It appears the Tesla Model 3 is also making its way to North America from China, joining the Model Y after a report indicated the all-electric crossover would be built in Shanghai and shipped to our neighbors to the north.

In late April, it appeared Tesla would start shipping the Model Y Rear-Wheel-Drive vehicles it builds at Gigafactory Shanghai to Canada after reports from Reuters cited internal production memos, which pointed to the strategy.

The Model Y RWD was available “off-menu” in several markets as it didn’t meet the “Standard of Excellence,” according to CEO Elon Musk.

The vehicle only offers 244 miles of range but is likely outfitted with the LFP battery pack, which can be fully charged and provides a longer life cycle, despite lower range ratings and more temperature sensitivity.

However, Tesla opted to make it an “on-menu” option in Canada, as well as other markets, including Mexico and Israel.

It appears the vehicle is being shipped from China to Canada, even after Musk said last year that reports indicating Tesla would adopt this strategy were “false.”

While the Model Y has been shipped, it appears Tesla is also preparing to offer China-built Model 3 vehicles in North America, according to ship tracker Morten Lund.

Lund notes the vehicles, which were spotted at a Shanghai Port, were left-hand drive and featured North American license plate brackets, which are different than China’s in width and height.

Many questioned how recently the image was taken as the vehicles being loaded onto haulers in the photos have chrome trim and handles, which Tesla phased out a while ago. Lund said it is protective tape and not chrome.

It is somewhat unclear why Tesla would be shipping Model Y and Model 3 vehicles from Shanghai to Canada, especially since it already builds both cars in the U.S., with the Model 3 being built in Fremont and the Model Y being built in both Fremont and Austin.

However, Fremont and Austin could be fully committed to handling demand in the United States, and with the automaker’s perspective that Shanghai operates with the “lowest cost structure” of its factories, it could be a common-sense strategy to help offset some decreasing automotive gross margins it faced from various price cuts.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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