Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start selling its Model 3 electric sedan in Europe.

The Netherlands Vehicle Authority, which has the power to regulate on such matters in Europe, gave the go-ahead on Monday, January 21, paving the way for sales of Tesla’s most popular and competitively priced vehicle in one of the world’s major markets.

The imminent arrival of the long-range variant of the Model 3 follows that of the Model X in 2016 and the Model S in 2013. The company, headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, recently launched online orders for the Model 3 in a number of European countries in expectation of the regulatory approval. Initial deliveries are expected to begin in February, with early models assembled in the U.S.

At the start of this week, Tesla tweeted a photo showing Europe-destined Model 3 vehicles just off the production line.

The company already has an assembly plant for the Model S and Model X in Tilburg in the Netherlands, which opened in 2013. Tesla is also in the process of selecting a new site in Europe to make its vehicles and batteries. Germany is believed to be the leading contender to host the facility.

With Europe’s electric-vehicle market growing, the company is hoping its lower-priced Model 3 will prove a hit with new owners making the switch from gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. The Model 3 will also give Tesla the opportunity to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in Europe’s premium car market.

Linking in with Tesla’s hope for healthy sales across the pond this year is its plan to extend Supercharger coverage to 100 percent of Europe over the next 12 months. Most of Tesla’s 3,200-plus Superchargers in Europe are located in countries to the west, with far fewer found in eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. There are currently none at all in Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, and Ukraine, but that looks set to change soon.

The launch of the Model 3 in Europe comes after Tesla recently announced a 7-percent cut to its workforce, equal to about 3,000 jobs. In a letter sent recently by Musk to employees, the CEO said that despite the job losses, the company planned to increase production of the Model 3 as it attempts to take on established automakers around the world.

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