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Tesla is rumored to be importing its new cheap Model Y variant in Canada from China


A new report states that Tesla is supposedly about to be importing its new cheap Model Y variant introduced in Canada last week from China.

When first announcing plans to build cars in China, CEO Elon Musk clearly stated that it would only be to satisfy local demand and that Tesla wouldn’t export vehicles from China. That changed after Gigafactory Shanghai quickly surged to become Tesla’s most productive plant and the world’s largest electric vehicle factory.

It became Tesla’s main export hub – mainly exporting vehicles to Europe, Asia, and Australia.

However, it has yet to import cars to North America.

Last week, we reported on Tesla launching a new Model Y RWD in Canada that brings the price of the electric SUV down to $59,990 CAD – giving it access to up to $12,000 in incentives.

At the time, many suspected that the new lower-range version would be built using LFP battery cells like Tesla’s base Model 3.

Now a new report from Reuters claims that the entire vehicle is going to be built in China and imported to Canada:

Tesla has begun producing in Shanghai a version of the Model Y to be sold in Canada this year, the first time it will ship cars to North America from China, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plan and a production memo seen by Reuters.

It’s important to note that late last year Reuters produced a similar report about Tesla importing cars from its Shanghai factory to the US. We thought the report to be questionable at the time and CEO Elon Musk later denied it.

It’s not clear if they had just got the country where it will be exported to North America wrong or if this yet another misleading report.

Electrek’s Take

I don’t know if this is accurate or not. We suspected that the new Model Y in Canada would use Chinese LFP cells, like the base Model 3 in the US, but that’s still a US-made car.

We assume it would be the same for the base Model Y.

As we reported last week, the new trim at that pricing with the incentives made this new Model Y an excellent deal in Canada, and especially in my home province of Quebec. Would the fact that it is made in China rather than the US change people’s mind?

I am curious.

Let’s assume that the report is true (which we don’t know yet) and do a quick (unscientific) poll:

Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai has proven to be able to produce quality cars, so that’s not really my concern. Other automakers have successfully imported Chinese-made EVs in North America – like Polestar.

I think it wouldn’t be a problem for me, especially considering that it’s clearly not a case of Tesla trying to avoid building EVs in North America as the automaker is heavily investing in ramping up production at now three North American factories.

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