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US Model 3 to UK

MegaTronBon

Member
Aug 24, 2018
6
20
Las Vegas
I will be moving from the US to UK soon due to military obligations and I am looking for some advice. I will be bringing my US spec Model 3 with me to UK. Through a ton of research, I have found ways to make it work. Charging was one issue I resolved through multiple 3rd-party charging cables. I am working with Tesla UK to convert my turn indicators from red to amber.

One issue that remains is the rear fog lights. When I reached out to Tesla UK, I was told the light conversion for a US Model 3 is not possible due to differences in hardware. My question is, does anyone know a workaround for this. When I go through the MOT is there some sort of retrofit that can be done to make this work? Any information will be appriciated.
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,127
969
mid wales
I'm not aware of an obvious work-around or even if it's necessary. I'd expect that to depend on how long you plan to use the car UK as to whether it gets classed as temporary use or a permanent import which i guess is tied to the duration of your posting. Driving with the steering wheel on the 'wrong side' is OK for a vacation but can get old very quickly - particularly on our congested roads and country lanes when stuck behind a tractor or HGV. The other aspect to investigate is insurance costs. And I suppose the whole thing depends on what degree of financial compensation the military gives you for such a posting.
 

Dickybeau

Member
Aug 25, 2019
100
51
Scotland
I will be moving from the US to UK soon due to military obligations and I am looking for some advice. I will be bringing my US spec Model 3 with me to UK. Through a ton of research, I have found ways to make it work. Charging was one issue I resolved through multiple 3rd-party charging cables. I am working with Tesla UK to convert my turn indicators from red to amber.

One issue that remains is the rear fog lights. When I reached out to Tesla UK, I was told the light conversion for a US Model 3 is not possible due to differences in hardware. My question is, does anyone know a workaround for this. When I go through the MOT is there some sort of retrofit that can be done to make this work? Any information will be appriciated.
I suspect that you will need to buy an aftermarket fog light like this 12V UNIVERSAL REAR FOG LIGHT LAMP SQUARE RED REFLECTOR E APPROVED CARAVAN TOWING 5055493865754 | eBay and fit a switch in the drivers area. You’ll need a visible warning light easily viewable from the drivers seat. The whole setup will require to be powered from your 12v battery I think although folk have fitted electric trunk releases using a power lead from a cable in the trunk (boot). Kit car builders here Will have some experience.
 

jimbo_hippo

Member
Sep 15, 2019
274
281
Manchester UK
Are you moving here permanently? Will you probably sell the car in a few years in the uk? If so, the car needs to go through what is called an IVA which will convert it to Uk spec. It may also have to go for a UK test called an MOT but I’m not sure if that’s necessary if it’s under 3 years old. I don’t have experience of importing cars but I’ve had American RVs which have been imported and investigated buying in the US.

in general, when the vehicle arrives in the uk, it must go to an IVA approved test centre (I’m pretty sure it can be driven there if test pre-booked) and will undergo the test and light conversion. Ince it has an IVA, the driver vehicle licensing agency (DVLC) will issue you with a registration document V5 and it’s good to go. If you use an agent, they handle insurance requirements between the docks and the IVA test centre which is your main problem as UK insurance companies don’t like non-UK registered cars.

if you start to struggle, let me know. The principle is the same for RVs as Cars so I could point you at people with experience of the former who could give you better guidance on permanently importing a vehicle than I can.
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
5,758
2,893
Suffolk, UK
I wonder about Servicing. Enough of a nightmare to get Service for cars that UK Tesla staff DO know something about ... an "unusual variant" might be a challenge for them.

No easy answer ... but seems to me that Military would be better off to "seeing you right" on your personal vehicle (i.e. compensate you for sale in USA and purchase in UK, and same when you return) rather than bringing your vehicle over and giving you a minefield of UK regulations to navigate.

Personally I wouldn't want to drive a wrong-side steering wheel for prolonged period. When I drive on wrong-side on the continent it is with a passenger who can look-around car in front / look-ahead for me ... on my own its a lot more difficult and risky.
 
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jimbo_hippo

Member
Sep 15, 2019
274
281
Manchester UK
driving LHD in the UK has never been an issue for me. It’s not because I’m super human or anything. You just adapt.

I’ve had a lot of US vehicles from a Camero to my current 12.5tonne RV. Done tens of thousands of miles on it and I just don’t think about it. Park it and hop back in RHD car without a thought.
I reckon if I can get this around UK roads, a Model 3 shouldn’t be a problem. :)

agree with the logic of not just buying a uk spec one though. You’re liable for import duties and VAT so it might even be cheaper to sell and buy again.
6BA80EB6-C0C9-469E-B628-CE642AC452F7.jpeg
 

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