Tesla has reached a point where it is capable of producing the Model 3 en masse. With the vehicle now saturating North America, the time has come to bring the electric sedan to the international market. In this light, Tesla appears set to kick off 2019 on a strong note, starting the first week of the year with more than 14,000 Model 3 VIN registrations — over 9,000 of which are cars for the European market.
As could be seen in the data aggregated by Model 3 VIN tracking group @Model3VINs, Tesla had started 2019 with a string of more than 14,000 filings. Among these, more than 9,600 were listed with restraint systems which indicated that the cars were configured for Europe. With these latest filings, Tesla had also broken the 200k barrier with its Model 3 VIN registrations — a notable milestone for a vehicle whose production was beset by challenges on its first year.
The company’s Model 3 VIN registrations for Europe bodes well for the Tesla’s expansion into the region. The electric car maker, after all, is reportedly still looking to receive “homologation” approval to sell cars in Europe. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, though, Tesla noted that it was working closely with regulators and that it expects to gain approval for the Model 3 after the 2018 holidays.
If Tesla receives homologation approval soon, the company would be able to follow through with its plan of shipping 3,000 Model 3 to the region per week starting in February. This would give the Model 3 time to saturate the European market before other premium EVs saturate the market, one of which is the Audi e-tron, an all-electric SUV unveiled last year. The e-tron’s European release initially got delayed due to issues with its software, though a later statement by the legacy automaker on December to EV publication Electrive noted that the e-tron had made it through homologation.
Tesla, for its part, is moving full throttle towards the Model 3’s European push. Belgian news agency Focus-WTV, for one, has noted that the electric sedans will be arriving every week at the port of Zeebrugge, which is located on the coast of Belgium. To optimize the shipping of the Model 3 further, Tesla is also reportedly partnering with transportation firm International Car Operators (ICO), which utilizes RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) ships that are capable of loading and unloading cargo quickly.
To support the influx of the Model 3 in Europe, Tesla is also hard at work rolling out Superchargers that are equipped with dual charge cables. These stations, which are fitted with both a Type 2 plug and a CCS plug, would be perfectly compatible with the Model 3 for the region, which would are with a CCS port. Tesla plans to retrofit its existing Supercharger Network in Europe to accommodate the Model 3 as well.
The Tesla Model 3 is a vehicle described by Elon Musk as a “bet-the-company” project, a car that pretty much determined the future of the company. Despite initial production challenges, the Model 3 has been proving itself in the US market, ranking among the best-selling cars in the country over the past few months despite the country’s notable preference for vehicles like SUVs and trucks. In foreign regions, the Model 3 actually could have more potential. Tesla, after all, noted 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.”