Tesla Model 3 Highland: A Major Export Push from Gigafactory Shanghai Signals Global Expansion

Tesla's Latest Model 3 Highland Gears Up for International Markets with Significant Design Upgrades

A massive shipment of Tesla Model 3 Highland units is being prepared for export to European countries, according to new drone footage shot outside of the automaker’s Gigafactory Shanghai plant.

Tesla recently unveiled its latest addition to the Model 3 family, known as the “Highland,” currently being manufactured at the company’s Chinese production facility in Shanghai.

In addition to numerous design enhancements, Tesla has introduced a range of new features, including subtle improvements like the Blind Spot Indicator, as we reported yesterday. The Model 3 Highland made its debut just last week, with deliveries slated to commence in October. This new Model 3 is set to hit various Asian and European markets, as well as select Middle Eastern regions such as the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The inaugural images of an extensive batch of these fresh Model 3 Highland units were captured by Wu Wa, a drone operator based in Shanghai. This development serves as a clear indication that Tesla is gearing up to transport these vehicles to markets beyond China, preparing them for their initial deliveries. Notably, Tesla’s Gigafactory Shanghai has consistently served as the company’s export hub, particularly for the Model 3.

While Tesla does have a production facility in Europe, situated in Brandenberg, Germany, it is currently dedicated solely to the production of the Model Y.

For years, Tesla has leveraged its Shanghai facility, which has played a pivotal role in boosting the automaker’s production numbers over the past two years, as the primary export hub to meet the demand in both Asia and Europe. Earlier this year, Tesla also initiated shipments of select Model 3 units to Canada to capitalize on clean vehicle rebates associated with the batteries used in these vehicles. As for the United States, Tesla has yet to announce a specific timeline for manufacturing or shipping the Model 3 Highland units. Nevertheless, various filings made over the past 13 months suggest that the automaker is gearing up for the Model 3 Highland’s release in the U.S.

The timing largely hinges on when the company commences production or secures the requisite approvals for this variant, given the numerous design modifications it features compared to the previous Model 3.

Tesla has already completed certain production line upgrades at the Fremont Factory, possibly related to the Highland project. During the Q2 2023 Earnings Call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk disclosed that there would be a slight reduction in production this quarter compared to the previous one, primarily to facilitate these upgrades. The Fremont Factory was the first to undergo these enhancements, with Gigafactory Texas experiencing a temporary shutdown earlier this week.

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