A year and a half after customers in the US started receiving their orders, the first Tesla Model 3 cars have made it to their European owners. After the first shipment of cars arrived at the beginning of the week in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, owners were soon emailed invitations to collect their vehicles from Tesla’s Tilburg factory in the Netherlands, reports Electrek.
However, upon arriving at the factory, some preorder holders were turned away. Tesla confirmed to Electrek that it wasn’t able to deliver as many vehicles as it had originally planned, and Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk noted on Twitter that the company had faced “unexpected challenges” at the Belgian port. No elaborations about the nature of those challenges have been provided.
Musk went on to say that he expected the cars to start moving out “in volume” today. Another shipment of Model 3s is expected to arrive in the port in the next few days. As of January 2019, around 14,000 of the vehicles are thought to have been preordered across Europe.
Model 3 preorders first opened in March 2016 alongside the initial reveal of the car, and by April, Tesla had as many as 325,000 preorders worldwide. Although it made its first deliveries in the US in July of the following year, difficulties in ramping up production over the course of 2018 meant that European customers couldn’t properly start configuring their vehicles until January of this year.
Currently, European customers are only able to order the higher-specced all-wheel-drive and performance versions of the car, with no access to the cheaper rear-wheel-drive model that’s available in the US.
Musk has previously said that higher production volumes will be needed to make even cheaper models of the car viable to produce. Making the Tesla Model 3 widely available in a second continent is an important step in that direction.