Late last month, Tesla introduced a new Model Y variant to its online configurator in Canada, the Model Y RWD.

Only a few days after that, a Reuters report claimed Tesla is about to start exporting a Chinese-made Model Y variant to Canada, which would mark the first time it ships cars from China to North America.

That variant is likely the LFP battery-powered Model Y RWD, which is made at Tesla's Shanghai plant alongside the Model 3 RWD. Speaking of which, there's a chance Tesla may also start exporting the LFP-powered electric sedan to Canada.

While nothing is official, tracker Morten Lund has spotted a Model 3 for export to North America at Shanghai port. He posted a photo of the car on Twitter as it was unloaded from a trailer that also had two Model Ys on it.

The left-hand-drive car featured a North America-specific license plate bracket at the back and was unloaded in an area where a ship headed for Tacoma, Washington was waiting. Tacoma is 175 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia.


Of course, this is just speculation for the moment, but there might be something to it. Tesla has decided to export China-made Model Y RWD vehicles to Canada because they are eligible for subsidies there, and the cheaper Model 3 RWD would likely qualify for incentives too in the North American country.

Some of the commenters doubted that the image is recent because the vehicles unloaded from haulers appear to have chrome trim and handles, which Tesla phased out a while ago. Lund claims the photo is recent and says that's protective tape and not chrome.

While Tesla operates two factories in the United States that build both Model 3 (Fremont, California) and Model Y (Fremont, California and Austin, Texas) EVs, those facilities are mostly focused on meeting demand from the US market.

And since the Shanghai factory has the "lowest cost structure" of Tesla's manufacturing plants, it probably makes economic sense for the EV maker to export Model Y (and possibly Model 3) EVs from China to Canada. 

Interestingly, Tesla exporting EVs from China to North America is something Musk last year said it wouldn't happen. He said at the time that reports indicating Tesla would adopt this strategy were "false."

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