Tesla Model S and Model X reservation holders in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and all the other countries where cars are right-hand drive went on social media to post their frustrations after the American EV maker decided to stop producing RHD versions of the two models.
About three weeks ago, Tesla suddenly announced that it won’t manufacture its flagship EVs with the steering wheel on the right anymore and offered some options to reservation holders, such as accepting delivery of a left-hand drive car, going for the smaller Model 3 or Model Y, or cancelling the order altogether.
However, for some people in the United Kingdom who have waited up to three years for their Model S or Model X to be delivered, the news came as a surprise. So they went to the closest Porsche or Mercedes-Benz dealership to order a Taycan or an EQS, as Autocar writes.
Gallery: 2023 Tesla Model X
“I’m a 2018 Model S 100D owner since new and a Model S Plaid order holder since October 2021,” said Paul Jones. “I love the cars [but this decision] is a kick in the teeth. To be told repeatedly since 2021 my car is delayed but is coming and now this, without explanation, is very poor. First thing I did after getting the email was drive to my local Porsche dealer and I’ve got a Taycan Turbo S test drive booked.”
Another bitter Model X reservation holder, Harry Green, spoke to Mercedes-Benz and ordered an EQS saloon after he got the news from Tesla:
“I’ve had a Model X on order since October 2020. Ordering a Mercedes EQS now.”
Speaking about the perils of driving a left-hand drive car on the roads of the UK, John Scarnott was worried about overtaking with limited visibility:
“Overtaking is so risky, as you have to get half the car onto the other side of the road to see what’s coming.”
But while controversial, Tesla’s decision to stop delivering RHD Model S and Model X vehicles is rooted in its ability to move much larger numbers of its more affordable EVs – the Model 3 and Model Y.
According to Dylan Setterfield, head of forecast strategy at Cap HPI, a little over 11,000 Model S units were registered in the United Kingdom between 2013 and 2021, and less than 6,500 Model Xs between 2016 and 2021. That’s roughly 10 percent of the 170,000+ Model 3 and Model Y units combined which will have been registered by the end of this year, so maybe the American EV brand is better off cutting costs and upsetting some customers, and focusing on its best-sellers.