UPDATE: It now appears all variants of the 2021 Tesla Model 3 – including the Performance – will soon be sourced from Tesla's plant in Shanghai, China.
According to data tracking service VedaPrime, deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 Performance have now been delayed until mid-2021, suggesting the Chinese factory may be in the process of being retooled to accommodate the variant.
The original story remains unchanged below.
The 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Long Range sold in Australia will now be made in China, the company's online configurator has revealed.
Updates to Tesla Australia's website – spotted by Twitter user and Tesla delivery tracking service VedaPrime – reveal all new Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Long Range orders placed in Australia will see buyers' cars shipped from Tesla's plant in Shanghai, China, rather than its original production facility in Fremont, California.
However, the manufacturing change applies only to the two most affordable variants, with the flagship Performance model continuing to be built in the US.
Providing the tip-off for the production location switch are a range of minor updates and changes, led by the introduction of revised front door trims, which feature new extensions of the dashboard trim inlays, be it woodgrain or white – a feature unique to Shanghai-based Model 3 production.
Both models are now available with a white interior – an option previously exclusive to the range-topping Model 3 Performance.
The Model 3 Standard Range Plus can also now be optioned with the 19-inch 'Sport' alloy wheels previously exclusive to the Long Range, with Chinese production also ushering in an increase in its NEDC-rated driving range, to a total of 508km – just three months after it was upgraded from 460km to 490km as part of a 2021 update.
A listing in the Australian government's Road Vehicle Certification System – a official database listing all vehicles certified for compliance with Australian Design Rules – confirms the production switch for the two entry grades, with the Chinese-built variants now wearing vehicle identification numbers starting with LRW – the World Manufacturer Identifier assigned to Tesla's Shanghai factory, with the L signifying Chinese production.
Prices remain unchanged, with the Standard Range Plus and Long Range continuing to retail from $66,900 and $81,900 before on-road costs respectively.
Bottom: US-built 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range.
Tesla Australia's website lists a nine to 12-week wait for new Chinese-built Model 3 orders.
It’s understood the intention behind the production switch is to reduce wait times for European and Asia-Pacific-market customers.
The Chinese-built 2021 Tesla Model 3 is now available to order.