Following a Bloomberg News report in September that Tesla planned to ship the Shanghai made Tesla Model 3 to Europe, customer pre-order agreements in France and Germany are now showing up with “Model 3 – China” in the description [Update: this news has now been confirmed via Tesla’s official WeChat account]:
Next Model 3 SR+ will come from China, it's official 😱@BlogTeslaFr @TSLAEnFR @Teslarati @teslabros @teslaownersSV @TeslaStars @Model3Owners @TeslaWolfy @WholeMarsBlog @Tesmanian_com https://t.co/gEo48fiFVe
— Green Drive Tesla Accessories (@GreenDriveTesl1) October 18, 2020
This image pops up on my @Tesla Facebook page – This means that i was right with my earlier assumption that these cars would be heading to Europe. Its a German VIN allocation. @jpr007 https://t.co/Hq1BvNRYl2 pic.twitter.com/N7t6MrPo4c
— Armand Vervaeck🎗️ (@ArmandVervaeck) October 18, 2020
These pre-order documents appear to be for the Model 3 SR+ variants.
The LFP batteries supplied by CATL are also reported to now be installed in the Shanghai Model 3 SR+ vehicles:
Tesla MIC Model 3 starts installing #CATL #LFP batteries, #China media citing MIIT Sep production certificates.
NEDC: 468 km pic.twitter.com/jslaw5DPoW
— Moneyball (@DKurac) October 15, 2020
So it seems likely that any Tesla Model 3 vehicles that get shipped from the Shanghai Gigafactory to customers in Europe will include the new LFP batteries.
According to documents from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the LFP variant of the Model 3 SR+ actually has slightly higher range rating (468km NEDC) than the previous nickel-based battery version of the SR+ (originally 445 km NEDC). Although NEDC ratings are over-optimistic, the relative gain in range (~5%) will likely be preserved in real world use.
Furthermore, like most LFP chemistries, the LFP pack variant of the Model 3 is very robust for charging, even for charging habitually to 100%, according to Tesla’s customer support:
A little interesting tidbit about Model 3 SR+ with LFP batteries
(from official Tesla 🇨🇳 support):
You can always charge to 100%.
Actually customers are encouraged to charge to 100% at least once a week.
Pretty convenient IMO pic.twitter.com/1p4eb6d80R
— ⚡️特拉风🦔T☰SLA mania⚡️ (@Tesla__Mania) October 15, 2020
It will also be interesting to see if Tesla has increased the DC charging power, or modified the charging curve, on the LFP version of the Model 3.
What’s Tesla’s strategy here? We know that LFP batteries are cheaper and less mineral constrained than nickel based batteries. LFP batteries are going to become the main pillar for most of Tesla’s standard range vehicles (its most affordable and highest selling vehicles globally) for the foreseeable future.
Currently Tesla is only confirmed to have supply agreements for LFP batteries from CATL for the China made vehicles. This will likely evolve in the future as CATL and other LFP cell producers are setting up factories in Europe, which will be able to be supplied to Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory.
For the moment though, the only way for Tesla to get its most affordable and lowest cost (LFP) Model 3s to European customers is to ship them in from Shanghai, since that’s the only place they are made.
Shanghai Tesla Model 3 / Image: Tesla
Although the combination of the original Bloomberg report and these recent pre-order documents do appear to add up to strong evidence, and the business case for Tesla makes sense, we’ll have to wait for further details in order to be able to fully confirm this news.
We’ll be on the lookout for any official updates from Tesla, or reports from from European customers once the vehicles are delivered. [Update: Tesla’s official WeChat account has now confirmed they will start shipping the Shanghai made Model 3 later this month, to 10 European countries.]
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...