Californian car maker Tesla is going to restart production of the previously discontinued Long Range, rear wheel drive Model 3 – but this time, at its Shanghai Gigafactory 3 in China.
The rear wheel drive (RWD) Long Range Model 3 was one of the original configurations available when Tesla first introduced the ground-breaking electric car in the US for order in 2016.
However, in mid-2019 production of the variant was halted, and customers were informed by email that the electric car company was “examining the extent” to which the Fremont Gigafactory 2 was producing “previously placed orders”.
Official comment by the company at the time was that it was “standardising our global vehicle lineup and streamlining the number of trim packages”.
Now, it would appear the Long Range RWD Model 3 is back, but this time in China according to Tesla China spotter Jay in Shanghai, who shared documentation from the Chinese ministry of industry and information technology.
BREAKING: Giga Shanghai Factory will produces China Made Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive Model 3.
Listed today on official China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website: https://t.co/LxRSneHZSX#Tesla #TeslaChina #ChinaMade #Shanghai #Model3 #特斯拉 #中国 $TSLA pic.twitter.com/91w6uqNBkA
— Jay in Shanghai 🇨🇳 (@JayinShanghai) February 12, 2020
The documentation shows the partial vehicle identification number (VIN) as LRW3E7EA – LRW being Tesla’s manufacturer identifier in China (in the US it is 5YJ).
How much it will cost is not yet known, as the vehicle has not yet been added to Tesla China’s site.
It is an interesting development however, as so far the Shanghai Gigafactory is only producing one vehicle – the Standard Range Plus “Made in China” Model 3 – of which it had already made 2,635 vehicles in just a few weeks since production began.
While the factory was recently in shutdown – at first during China’s Lunar New Year period then extended due to fears of the encouraging spread of the very contagious novel coronavirus – it is understood that it has since reopened with the assistance of the Shanghai government, according to Reuters.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.