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Importing model S from US

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by EchoVictor, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. EchoVictor

    EchoVictor Member

    Feb 9, 2014
    United Kingdom
    Hi, first post but long time lurker.

    Having seen the price differential between US and UK I began to consider the option of buying a model s (probably 2nd hand) in the states, keeping it their for the minimum six months and importing it to the UK.

    Aside from the steering wheel being on the wrong side, what implications would there be in running the car in this country? I'm thinking obviously of charging at home and in the wild, servicing, data connection, well anything really.

    Thanks for you input
  2. J1mbo

    J1mbo Active Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Other than the usual steps to make it road legal in the UK, which have to be done to most US imports (I.e. headlamp direction), you won't have access to EU superchargers or any 3G data. Other than that, finding a type 2 to US MS charging cable could be fun...
  3. charliestyr

    charliestyr EVangelist

    Jul 1, 2012
    Definitely wouldn't be worth it.

    - Tail lights would have to be changed (they blink the brake lights for indicators in the US)
    - Headlights need to be changed (pointing the correct way for UK)
    - Charger connector would be complicated (but not impossible). Easiest way to use US Model S in Europe is at a Type 1 (J1772) station using the Model S J1772 adapter that comes with the car in the US. You can also get a Type 2 to J1772 cable easily and presumably use it in the same way with the adapter.
    - You wouldn't be able to use European superchargers (without some kind of custom one off adapter, and even then probably not.)

    There's probably more reasons why you wouldn't want to import a US spec Model S but those are the key things that come to mind.

    Model S price in the UK is remarkably reasonable, price difference comes down to VAT mostly, and I would suspect importing costs/taxes would easily exceed the VAT on a EU-spec car. (although perhaps a loophole is the 6 month ownership thing you mention). I was very surprised by how low the price is here, I was expecting the 85kwh model to come in nearer £70k base, not under £60k :smile:

    Charlie -
  4. PV4EV

    PV4EV Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    Area 51 / UK
    I looked into doing a Roadster import back in 2010, and called Tesla UK to ask if they would honour a USA warranty agreement. They said no, not really .. and ran through an enormous list of why not.

    Theres also some HAZMAT / Hazardous Materials regulations to get around. Cant quite remember the details but it was something along the lines of "you're not allowed to ship a EV with the lithium battery pack installed and with more than 100wh of energy in it, and they have to be removed and sent separately."

    And a load other stuff.

    Basically not worth it at all.

    Best idea is to set up a one man limited company (if not already..), buy a new EV through it, and write down 100% of the purchase cost in year one against corporation tax and roll it forward until you've used it up. The equates to a 20+% discount on the car price ... combined with the fuel savings, the road tax savings, and other marginal savings, you'd be far better off doing it this way than doing an import. Hope this helps.

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