TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Help needed: Importing a US Roadster to Europe (Switzerland)

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by k3000, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich
    hi guys

    this is my first post :smile:

    i'm in the following situation: i have a very, very good offer from a friend in the USA for the Roadster.

    I have already imported cars from the USA and it's usually not that big of a problem (find a good shipper and insurance, pay for some homologation). Pretty straight forward.

    • I spent hours here in the forum yesterday, trying to figure out if I will be able to charge the Roadster at all in Europe... without any success.
    • If yes, will I be able to install the US Home Connector for faster charging (480V)? Or can I charge a US Roadster with the EU Home Connector? :confused:
    Can someboday answer this quesiton? Or has somebody here imported a US Roadster to Europe before?

    1. How about homologation? Obviously some cosmetic changes are needed regarding the lights, license plate holder etc. or the Swiss guys here won't allow me to drive the car.
    2. Can any well equiped garage do this or do I have to get this done at Tesla in Munich? Will they do it AT ALL?

    In detail: does somebody exactly know, which homologation is needed?

    • How about GPS? Are European Maps available?

    These are minor issues really, the main issue is the charging.


    Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks folks.
     
  2. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    8,572
    Location:
    Winchester, UK
    Hi k3000. Welcome to the forum.

    I'm not an expert on the homologation, but there have been some "US" cars supplied by Tesla before the official EU model was released.

    The US fast charger is 240V single phase, so it will work here. Whether an actual US charger is approved for use here is another matter, but one supplied via Tesla over here should be fine with the car.

    There are European maps available for the GPS - assuming the car has the Blaupunkt unit. If not, it's a simple thing to change the radio/nav unit.


    I can put you in touch with Munich people if you need. Alpinedriver here was going to import a US model (he got an EU in the end), but maybe he can help more.
     
  3. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich
    thanks for the quick reply.

    can you shed some more light on the charger? what do you exactly mean when you say it will work here (how, do I just plug it in or do I need to call an electrician?) but you're not sure if it's approved (approved by who?).

    I tried to call Tesla in the US and ask about these details, but they were really unfriendly... they basically said don't you ever dare to export one of or Roadsters. You will blow it into pieces if you even dare to approach a power plug... then they mentioned "some different firmware" in the car which will not allow the car to be charged in Europe. firmware for what?! I only realized AFTER the phonecall that there's an enormous price difference between the US and the EU. are they afraid the EU guys will go out of business? :biggrin:

    And how do I for example change the speed indicator from mp/h to km/h?
     
  4. LST

    LST Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Hi there

    the major thing is not the charger, its the homologation. i would strongly suggest to forget about trying to import the Roadster from the US. You won't get any help from TM. some technical security specs change as well: side repeaters, rear lights, reflectors etc. , then there's the lights, the odo...

    as of what i know about the swiss homologation, which was a hassle in the beginning (i know 'cause i got one of the first on the road "legally") was the lack of some special crash test ( pedestrian safety ).

    as you know the pricing of US Roadster and EU Roadsters is quite different...and IMHO i don't think they'll tend to change that in the near future.
     
  5. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    17,249
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    The EU roadsters have some other differences with lighting, labeling, VINs and such. There are different regulations in Europe, so I imagine that Tesla can't officially support any US spec roadsters in Europe.

    Another question would be what would happen if you tried to bring a US spec roadster into a European Tesla office for service?

    (edit: I see LST just posted similar thoughts)
     
  6. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich
    hello LST

    could you please answer these question:

    • who did the homologation for you?
    • costs involved?

    I know that if crash test data of the Tesla Roadster is not available on safecar.gov, importing gets a little more difficult.
     
  7. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich
    I guess you just pay for the service since the US manufacturer warranty is not valid in Europe.

    But if you save $60'000 when you import the car, that's A LOT of services you can pay for. :cool:
     
  8. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    17,249
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Unless they refuse to touch it at a European service center and insist you ship it back to the USA for service...
     
  9. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich

    will not happen!

    If the sell the same car in Europe as in the USA, they will have to grant you a 2 year warranty minimum.
    That's the law.

    VW and Daimler-Chrysler lost multimillion lawsuit trying to do avoid imports...
    So either Tesla will grant me my warranty or they will be paying fines up to €90 mio. - their choice :biggrin:

    VW Is Fined $111 Million in Antitrust Case - NYTimes.com

    Europeans Expected to Fine Daimler in Antitrust Case - NYTimes.com
     
  10. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    8,572
    Location:
    Winchester, UK

    It would be interesting if they have done that. Certainly early marketing cars here were US spec, but they could not have such firmware. It would be possible for them to use GPS to detect its location and refuse to charge, or maybe detect whether the AC supply was 50Hz vs. 60Hz.

    But without such artificial restrictions it should be possible to charge.


    If this is a genuine friend to friend second hand sale, as opposed to just arranging for someone to be a proxy for you, then Tesla not supporting you seems a bit harsh.
     
  11. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich

    That's not the issue... Tesla HAS to grant me support by Europes anti-trust law.
    If they don't want to, they have to stop selling the Roadster in Europe.

    Of course talking friendly to the reps and trying to explain is always the best solution.

    I'm seeing a really naive behaviour here from Tesla USA trying to enter the European car market with half a dozen employess who run one man show in each country. Selling cars in Europe is a dead serious and difficult thing. One wrong step (artificial restrictions! firmware! yepeeee, anti trust i'm coming!) puts you out of business as a small company. :frown:

    Antitrust issues in Europe are a very serious thing. I know what I'm talking about... I'm a lawyer myself. :smile:

    Sorry guys when this sounds harsh, I was just suprised by the hostility I got from Tesla when I was asking for some advice.
     
  12. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    15,912
    Location:
    Stanford, California
    This car a 2008 or a 2010?
     
  13. Alfred

    Alfred Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    214
    Location:
    Zurich
    Contact local import specialist

    You might wish to contact one or two of those specialised US-car importers. They could give you for starters a good idea of the costs to expect currently. Try e.g. Laupen-Garage
    To this you then have to add the Tesla Roadster specific modifications. From what has been discussed here, I remember that the European versions have e.g. a different rear bumper with modifications to lights and the space for the licence plate. Another detail mentioned was a different behaviour of brake lights when regenerative breaking sets in.
    The US have a very different setup for domestic electricity. You will e.g. need for the car European (modified) versions of the MC240 and the smaller 10/16A roadster specific cables and connectors. There are evident safety and regulatory issues also here. The changes needed could reach also into the car's software. Link the two and I would think it rather risky for Tesla to attempt a quick fix - even if it were easy and if they would have the resources to do so readily available. An accident with this fast car vaguely attributable to such change would be the last thing they would want to risk.
     
  14. NEWDL

    NEWDL R#350 R#1323 Sig23 8136

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    NE OHIO
    K3000,
    Believe me that Tesla wants nothing more than for you to have a Roadster (new or used) and for you to enjoy that Roadster with the least amount of issues. That being said, Tesla has lawyers two, and has done far more research that you on the subject of liability and what they are and are not required to do for customers who export the vehicles. Euro Roadsters and US Roadsters do not have identical systems. There are differences that will drastically affect usage (or lack there of) in a country with different power availability.

    Whatever money you think you will be saving will be a moot point when service is denied and you have a vehicle that will not work correctly in europe. Tesla DOES NOT HAVE TO SERVICE US SPEC ROADSTERS IN EUROPE.

    Pointing out a VW suit is not indication of liability. VW and Tesla are two very different companies with two very different products. Not to mention differences in production volume. Does VW have to put a passenger airbag switch in the seat for occupant detection? YES. Well Tesla does not due to variances in the laws due to low volume manufacturers.

    DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF ASSUMING THE LAWS ARE ABSOLUTE. THIS IS A VERY STUPID MISTAKE TO MAKE TO SAVE A FEW THOUSAND.

    Personally I would be looking for a used euro spec roadster, or buy the US roadster, and flip it (inside the US) for a profit if the deal is so great. Then use that money to buy a Euro Roadster.

    If you do this, TESLA WILL NOT WARRANTY YOUR CAR. Your vehicle has a U.S. Warranty. I would make really good friends with the company who ships your roadster to europe....cause you will be working with them again soon.

    End of story.
     
  15. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    2,817
    I agree with the above. Tesla does not have to honor a US warranty outside of the us.
    Do yourself a big favor and skip the hassle involved in this scenario.

    Since European and US roadsters have different charging hardware and software, you will NOT win this battle.
     
  16. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,667
    Location:
    South Florida
    My simple thought is to be smart and be safe about getting you Roadster to Switzerland. I would rather see you have your on the road rather than sitting idle.

    If I understand the problem correctly then why wouldn't Tesla or someone develop an interface unit that takes the European standard of power and convert it to the USA standard of power it some does not want to go through a long process?

    Please forgive me if I come across sounding like a doof.
     
  17. k3000

    k3000 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Denver/Zurich

    That's funny, because that's EXACTLY what VW and Porsche said a week before they had to wire €90mio to Brussels.

    These days they honor a 2 year guarantee worldwide for cars bought in the USA.
     
  18. NEWDL

    NEWDL R#350 R#1323 Sig23 8136

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    NE OHIO
    Fine, lets look at it this way....

    You buy the U.S. Roadster against TESLA, and everyone else's suggestions. You have issues charging your car and have to call Telsa EU for help. They deny assistance because it is a U.S. Spec Roadster.

    How long do you think you will have to fight before you get the result you are looking for? IF IT HAPPENS AT ALL? How long will your Roadster be unusable? It is your responsibility to keep a charge in the vehicle and if you can not, YOU will have to absorb the cost of a new ESS (Battery Pack).

    It feels to me that you are looking for trouble. If the manufacturer of a vehicle told me they would not support the vehicle I was purchasing for X amount of dollars and I had no other repair options I would find another way....not just simply fight because I am a fighter.

    Again, It does not matter what VW and Porsche had to do. VW Group and Tesla are two very different animals. I am not familiar with VW's warranty wording. Nor do I care.

    This is in my opinion a loosing battle, but if nothing else, it is going to be a long drawn-out battle between you and the manufacturer of a vehicle you would love if you could drive it. You will be buying a very large very expensive lawn ornament with no timeframe of when you would have a drivable vehicle and how much that may cost you (Buying a new ESS or cost of reprograming, connectors, ect...).

    Once again I suggest you look at the responses on this board, and compare them with the answers you got from Tesla. Once you have those in mind, look at how much you are saving by buying the US roadster, and then take into account your hourly rate and think about how long this will take you. Add Misc incurred costs and see how much you really think you will save.
     
  19. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    2,817
    Some people just have to learn the hard way, I guess.
     
  20. NEWDL

    NEWDL R#350 R#1323 Sig23 8136

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    NE OHIO
    Yes, it feels that way...but the question is why?

    This is one of the best vehicles on the road with some of the least headaches of any sports car EVER. Why complicate it and make it a headache?
     

Share This Page