Tesla Model 3: EV Sparks Traffic Lines and New Records in Europe and China

Tesla Model 3 is causing a storm around the world. The company’s cheapest-ever vehicle set records in North America after it hit roads in July 2017, but its expansion abroad at the start of this year has taken these results to a new level, with fans lining up to get their cars registered and figures soaring.

“It’s the start of an electric revolution,” a Reddit user called “DanielShaww” declared, sharing an image of the first Model 3 spotted in Portugal.

The Model 3 is part of Tesla’s broad strategy to get electric vehicles into the hands of more consumers. The firm reached a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week in July 2018, creating a total of 7,000 cars per week with the Model S and X included. The Model 3 was the best-selling passenger car in the United States in terms of revenue in the second half of 2018. Tesla then moved to plans to start rolling its cars out to the wider world. The company expects to reach an annualized production rate of 500,000 cars at the end of 2019, or 10,000 cars per week.

The response so far has been impressive, with fans excitedly sharing photos of the first Model 3s on the road — complete with its shift to a more standard charger. Automotive analyst Matthias Schmidt found the new car is the top-selling model in Western Europe during its February debut.

In France, the Model 3 took the number two spot in terms of registrations in the month of February, second only to the Renault Zoe. German electric car rental service nextmove last month took delivery of its first four Tesla Model 3s out of a planned 100.

China, where Tesla broke ground on its first non-American Gigafactory in January, has seen fans rushing to local authorities to register their vehicle. Customs authorities delayed the first shipments of vehicles due to misprinted labels, a mixup that was resolved earlier this month. Footage from one of Beijing’s six locations show two giant lines of Model 3s waiting to register their vehicle.

The Shanghai Gigafactory is a key aspect of Tesla’s China ambitions. The facility is expected to start producing the cheaper versions of the Model 3 later this year before rolling out similar versions of the Model Y compact SUV later this year. Musk has called for a Gigafactory on the continent where consumers are buying these cars. Documents suggest the Shanghai facility will produce 500,000 cars per year when complete.

Norway, which Musk claims has the highest number of Teslas per person in the world, has been rushing to claim the Model 3. Tracking website Teslastats.no shows 2,740 Model 3s have been registered in the month of March already, leading to a total of 3,544 registered after its February debut. This beats the company’s previous total monthly record set in December 2017, when 2,461 Model S and X vehicles were registered.

The Model 3, which had over 30,000 preorders ahead of its Norwegian launch, already accounts for 10 percent of all registered Teslas. The broader Elbilstatistikk.no site shows the car is the most-registered vehicle of the year so far. Tesla now accounts for nearly 16 percent of Norway’s over 220,000 total electric vehicles.

Tesla taking off.
Tesla taking off.

Tesla has yet to start producing Model 3 vehicles for right-hand drive markets, leaving countries like the United Kingdom and Australia out of the rush. Musk stated on Twitter that the company will start producing Australia cars around May to start arrivals in the winter. The United Kingdom is expected to receive vehicles before the end of the summer.

The Model 3 is causing a rush worldwide, but there could be more around the corner. Musk predicts the Model Y will have higher demand of around 800,000 cars when it launches in 2020.