Tesla’s Model 3 online ordering will finally be open to customers in right-hand-drive (RHD) markets between May 1st and 2nd, according to CEO Elon Musk. A mid-2019 release for the RHD variant was predicted over the last year, thus aligning well with Musk’s recent announcement.
UK order page will go live around May 1 or 2
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2019
Anticipation for Model 3 in right-hand-drive markets has been building since first deliveries of the electric midsize sedan began in left-hand-drive areas of Europe in January. And Tesla’s continued sales ramp in Europe has further increased that enthusiasm. Musk acknowledged the patience exerted by Tesla’s UK buyers in an instance on Twitter last year, even suggesting a used Model S as an alternative in the meantime for future customers.
“Probably mid next year before we are able to make RHD. Wish it could be sooner. Maybe try a Model S, used or new in the meantime? Used S is better than a new 3 imo, unless you want a smaller car,” Musk replied to one inquiry.
The Model 3 design included multiple configurations from the start and, thanks to its symmetrical nature, minimal retooling and engineering were needed to begin production on the right-hand-drive version. Tesla has also heeding lessons from the production and delivery processes it underwent with the Model 3 in the US and Europe, altogether spelling out a more predictable purchasing process for its RHD market. Profitability is expected to return for the company in Q3 2019, according to Musk in the Q1 2019 earnings call, and the anticipated demand for RHD variants in green-energy-seeking markets like Australia and the UK may have been factored into Tesla’s considerations.
Model 3 was designed for min engineering & tooling change for RHD. Note left/right symmetry. LHD for Europe & Asia first half of next year. RHD probably middle of next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 25, 2018
Progress on the right-hand-drive Model 3 variant has recently been noticed and shared by several eagle-eyed members of the Tesla community. Tesla VIN registrations indicating two right-hand-drive vehicles had been produced were spotted in early March this year followed by a second batch of 14 shortly thereafter. Additionally, a black test RHD was spotted later in the month driving on I-280 with dealer plates in California.
Once online ordering begins, invitations to an official launch event may follow soon after, if past RHD release experience for the Model X serves as an accurate guide for the Model 3. The Standard Range Model 3 is set to arrive in Europe and China later this year, estimated to be approximately 6-8 months away by Elon Musk at the end of February. It would make sense for both the RHD and the Standard Range to be launched together, but nothing has been officially confirmed.