Tesla's Model 3 EV Cleared For European Deliveries As Supercharger Pricing Amps Up

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There's been a rash of negativity swirling around Tesla in the past week. First, the company announced that it was killing its referral program, which gave Model S, Model X, and Model 3 owners sweet prizes (including free Tesla Roadsters). Then, Elon Musk announced that the company would be cutting its workforce by 7 percent in order to increase probability – this came after the company increased its headcount by 30 percent in 2018.

But in a bit of good news for company, Tesla says that its Model 3 has now been given the go-ahead for sales in Europe. Now that the initial rush of buyers in the United States has died down a bit (customers in the U.S. can now get a new custom-ordered Model 3 in a matter of weeks instead of months), opening up the floodgates in Europe is another potential big source of revenue for the company.

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By expanding its footprint, Elon Musk is bringing his company's sleek electric sedan right on the doorstep of the big German three: BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. All three German automakers have announced rival electric vehicles to counter Tesla, but none have the breadth of models, long-range capacity or widespread availably of fast chargers (a la Superchargers).

Interestingly enough, with over 115,000 units sold during 2018, the Model 3 was the best-selling “luxury” vehicle in the U.S. It outsold perennial best-sellers like the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and Lexus ES. 

“[Elon Musk] is creating an entirely new segment of vehicles. And by that, I don’t view Tesla products as luxury products," said Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz earlier this month. "Those of us who only separate the world between luxury and non-luxury, we’re missing the point. Tesla has created this new category of a technology-driven product."

Tesla says that the first deliveries of Model 3 EVs will land in Europe in February. In the tweet above, you can see the initial shipment of vehicles being loaded into a cargo ship to make the long trip by sea. In the U.S., the Model 3 is priced from $44,000, but it will start at 58,800 euros ($66,800) in Europe.

In other Tesla news, Tesla is jacking up Supercharger pricing across the globe by as much a 33 percentElectrek reports that Tesla used to set Supercharger pricing on a state or regional basis. Now, however, the company is setting prices individually per charging station, making for some wildly fluctuation rates for those seeking a "fuel up" during long-distance travel. The publication cites downtown NYC rates going from $0.24 per kWh to $0.32 per kWh. In some California locations, the rates went from $0.26 to as high as $0.36 per kWh.

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The higher prices make topping off your Tesla on-the-go more closely approach the cost of filling up your typical gasoline-ending vehicle (especially with average nationwide gasoline prices hovering around the $2.22 mark). However, Tesla is making this move to help improve margins and to help fund Supercharger expansion across the globe.

And Tesla would likely point out that most of its customers charge at home overnight where they would pay much lower rates from their power utility, while reserving Supercharging only for long-distance ventures.