In a Thursday tweet (Apr 25), Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed his company’s plan to launch the RHD version of its latest and, relatively, more affordable electric vehicle, the Tesla Model 3, in the UK next week.
The UK order page goes live “around May 1 or 2,” followed shortly by Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, while deliveries are expected to begin sometime in the latter half of 2019.
Also, if Musk’s tweet is anything to go by, the company is “hoping to cover all of Eastern Europe this year,” as well.
The billionaire entrepreneur did not offer any timelines, though; however, with his penchant for taking to Twitter at the drop of a hat, we can rest assured there’ll be more from him on that.
Meanwhile, keeping in mind Musk’s reputation of over-committing at times, there is always the possibility that the UK launch may not happen as early as he promises.
But again, with Electrek reporting that an RHD version of the Model 3 was spotted on the I-280 in California, last month, it appears his company is ready to meet the deadline, this time around.
As for pricing for the UK market, there hasn’t been a formal announcement, so far, but Musk did say last month that with country-specific taxes & import duties, we can expect a 25% hike on the US price of $35,000, which would mean a starting price of around £33,900 across the Atlantic.
It goes without saying, that with the UK launch and subsequent launches in other RHD countries, Tesla is looking to offset the loss of $702 million ($4.02 per share) it suffered in the first quarter of 2019 – largely, a consequence of low delivery numbers and issues with costs and pricing adjustments.
Although a loss was on the cards, nobody was expecting it to be as huge as it turned out to be, as Kelley Blue Book’s executive publisher Karl Brauer pointed out in an emailed statement, according to Tech Crunch.
“Everyone expected a first-quarter loss for Tesla, but nobody expected it to be this big,” he wrote. “What’s interesting is how there really isn’t a single, substantial factor driving this.”
According to Brauer, the contributing factors include tax rebate loss, increasing competition, and the saturation of the “initial rush” for the Model 3, not to mention competition from within from other Tesla alternatives.
However, he is hopeful that Tesla would somehow ride the tide and see this lean phase through.
“This is the new normal for Tesla,” he told Tech Crunch.
As for Musk, he’s happy to blame the 37 percent revenue loss in QI on the season, saying that people were disinclined to buying cars in winter.
Is he suggesting that all automakers experience a drop in sales revenue during the winter season? Or is it just Tesla cars they don’t like buying in winter?
Musk has, however, said that the company would change its production and delivery strategy to avoid a repeat of Q1.
“We don’t want a situation again like we had in Q1, where essentially, all the cars were arriving to customers worldwide, all at the same time,” Musk said.
“So it just makes sense to plan production according to demand moving forward,” he added.
As for the Model 3 variants being made available in the UK, your guess is as good as mine!
Will the company offer RHD versions of the two new Model 3 variants it announced last year?
In a series of tweets in mid-2018, Musk announced two new variants of the Model 3 – the dual-motor, all-wheel drive (AWD) Model 3 and the Performance version, which Musk said was capable of zero to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds
While the single motor rear-wheel-drive base model option remains, US buyers can opt for an upgraded version at an additional $5,000, which would not only give them AWD, but also an improved range of 310 miles and a zero to 60mph time of 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph.
To put that in perspective, the base Model 3 has a maximum range of 220 miles and its stationary to sixty miles per hour time is 5.6 seconds.
The $78,000 Performance version is not only good enough to give the BMW M3 a run for its money – in terms of speed and handling – but it can also “beat anything in its class on the track,” claims Musk – a tall claim, indeed, considering the fact that the M3 is quite a gladiator in the sports sedan arena.
As mentioned, the Performance is capable of zero to sixty in a mere 3.5 seconds, in addition to having a top speed of 155 mph, with a maximum range of 310 miles on a fully juiced-up battery.
The two-motor configuration in the AWD Model 3, including Performance, is conceptualized along the lines of the Model S, with the front motor optimized for range and the one on the back built for power.
Musk claims the car is capable of safely taking you to your destination on any one engine, should the other break down.
If you don’t already know, the all-wheel-drive system in an electric vehicle works differently from that of a petrol or a diesel car where the front and back axles are mechanically connected via a driveshaft so that power is transferred from a single source to all four wheels.
Tesla makes the Model 3 an all-wheel drive by putting another motor up front to power the front wheels, which in effect means that the only connection between the two axles is the surface it drives on, referred to as “through-the-road” system.