Tesla has started making deliveries of the Model 3 in Europe, but customers who paid for the company’s Autopilot driver assistance package won’t be able to use the futuristic feature set just yet, according to the Los Angeles Times. Autopilot is currently disabled because the company is awaiting approval for the driver assistance package from RDW, the vehicle authority in the Netherlands.
Telsa announced in January that it had received “type approval” in Europe for the Model 3, which means the car had been cleared by regulators to be sold across the European Union. But a spokesperson for RDW told the Times on Thursday that Autopilot wasn’t part of that approval — even though the company sells the Model S and Model X in Europe with Autopilot as an option. (Type approvals handed out — or denied — by one nation in the EU are applicable to all the others in the union.)
Another hiccup in the rollout of an all-important market for the car
A spokesperson for Tesla said in a statement that the company is “planning to enable Autopilot in Europe beginning next week” for the Model 3. The company says all necessary tests have been completed, but that the approval is still being processed. RDW did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla was still allowing customers in Europe to elect the roughly $6,000 Autopilot option on Thursday, according to the Times.
Bringing the Model 3 to Europe and China is a major focus for Tesla in 2019. China is the biggest market in the world for electric cars, and Europe is typically neck and neck with the United States for second on that list. CEO Elon Musk said last week on a call with investors that essentially every Model 3 being made right now in California is destined for either Europe or China. Tesla recently announced its second round of layoffs in the past year which, combined with pushing the Model 3 into these new markets, the company believes will allow it to turn a profit going forward.
Autopilot’s absence in those initial orders isn’t the only headache Tesla has run into as it introduces the Model 3 to Europe. The company has experienced “unexpected challenges” at the port in Belgium where it’s sending the cars, according to Musk, which has led to initial delays with the deliveries.
Update February 7th, 5:47PM ET: Added information from Tesla about the status of the approval in the third paragraph.