Tesla pushes full international Model 3 launch to 2019

It's getting a grip on North American deliveries first.

Just because Tesla is delivering some Model 3 units outside the US doesn't mean it's ready for a full-scale international rollout. Elon Musk has revealed that launches for left-hand drive Model 3 variants in Asia and Europe are now expected in the first half of 2019, or months later than the the second half of 2018 target it mentioned when production began last July. And if you live in the UK or other countries where right-hand drive is the norm, you may have to wait longer -- your Model 3 is "probably" arriving in the middle of 2019, Musk said.

You may have seen this coming. Tesla has spent months overcoming production challenges, and it's only just getting to the point where its original end-of-2017 production goal (5,000 per week) is in sight. It likely wants to fulfill more of the backlog in its home market before venturing too far abroad. Electrek also suggested that Tesla is optimizing its production strategy to maximize the $7,500 federal tax credit in the US -- it likely wants to hit that magic 200,000-car threshold (where the tax break starts to phase out) before the year is over, and that means focusing second quarter production on the US rather than courting international buyers.

The upshot: whenever a large-scale international launch takes place, Tesla will likely have the production capacity needed to deliver cars quickly, including performance variants and the fabled $35,000 'entry' Model 3. Virtually all Model 3s shipped to date have hewed to a single configuration, and it wouldn't be very fun to both wait longer than many customers and be forced to take a car that's not quite to your liking.