Tesla to export Model 3 Performance from China to Canada with less horsepower, but will it matter?

Tesla announced their new Model 3 Performance this week, with more horsepower, more acceleration, and design features unique to the top-of-the-line electric sedan. While Canada will be getting the Model 3 Performance, it will be imported from China and be slightly different “under the hood” than what is built at the Fremont factory and delivered to customers in the United States.

When Tesla announced the Model 3 Performance, the official Tesla account on X advertised it as having 510 horsepower and 741 Nm torque. However, some other Tesla accounts, like the Europe and Middle East account, had the Model 3 Performance listed with 460 horsepower and 723 Nm. As it turns out, this is because the Fremont-made Model 3 Performance has a different battery pack than the Giga Shanghai-made Model 3 Performance, leading to slightly different figures.

The Model 3 Performance built at the Fremont factory will be equipped with a 82kWh battery pack manufactured by Panasonic, while the one built at Giga Shanghai in China will have a 79kWh pack from LG. The different battery chemistry used in the two packs results in slightly less power and torque.

Aside from those two figures, all others appear to be identical, like range (476km/292mi) and top speed (262kmh/163mph). Even the acceleration is as close to identical as possible, with the US car reaching 60mph (96.5kmh) in 2.9s and the Canadian car reaching 100km/h (62mph) in 3.1s.

The question then becomes how can the other figures, like acceleration and top speed, be the same if the Canadian version from China has less horsepower? The answer is because the low-end power will be virtually identical, and the difference will be felt more in the top end, as we previously reported when the first specs were revealed through a regulatory document in Europe. The top speed is also electronically limited.

For example, if both cars were driven side by side, the US version would reach 60mph at the same time as the Canadian version, but would be quicker to reach the top speed than the Canadian car. The piece we don’t know is how much of a difference that will be. For the vast majority of owners, they will never reach 262kmh, so it is almost a moot question. The owners that might notice the difference would be those that will take their car to the track.

If you have ordered a Model 3 Performance not knowing it has different specs, and that it will be coming from China instead of the US, there is little reason to cancel your order. As we said, the difference in acceleration will likely be imperceptible to the average owner, and you will likely be getting a car with better build quality.

If you are wondering why Tesla is exporting the Model 3 Performance from China to Canada, instead of shipping them up from California, it has to do with the federal tax credit in the US. Tesla wants to be able to supply the US market with cars that have the Panasonic battery, which meets the requirements set by the IRA to be eligible for the $7,500 tax credit. In Canada the Model 3 Performance does not qualify for the federal rebate, and even if it did, Canada has no sourcing requirements like the US.

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