Tesla Blocks Used Model S Imports Into Canada

AUG 15 2014 BY MARK KANE 34

Model S a Freebie

Model S

Time to Electrify recently found out that Transport Canada blocked Model S imports from US to Canada on Tesla Motors’ notification/request.

A question has been asked to TESLA MOTORS regarding the importation of used Model S in Canada.”

“I learned today that Tesla motors did ask Transport Canada to remove from the admissible vehicle list of the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles the Model S. The Model S was in this list since June 2014.  This creates an effective administrative barrier against the possibility to import in Canada a used Model S originally purchased in the States. As the US and Canada has tightly coupled economies, and movements between the borders are quite common, blocking the importation of the model S is not a good news for any owner.”

On the Transport Canada website there is such note:

Note-2: Tesla Motors has informed Transport Canada that Tesla service centers are currently not in a position to support the substantial modifications required to bring U.S. Model S vehicles into compliance with Canadian requirements. Contact the manufacturer for further details.”

Well, as the Canadian EV market is much smaller, buying used EVs from the US would be one of the options. It seems that this is not possible any more in the case of the Tesla Model S.

We are curious what is so hard to modify on the Model S to get it in compliance in Canada. What prevents the registration? We join in on asking this question:

“Could Tesla provide further details, to help their customers understand what is this matter about ?”

Source: Time to Electrify

Categories: Tesla

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34 Comments on "Tesla Blocks Used Model S Imports Into Canada"

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There have been no recent regultory changes in Canada that would precipitate this change. If a Model S was importable last month, it should be importable now. DRLs are the only significant difference in Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards vs FMVSS.

Yes, it looks like I jumped the gun there. There are more differences than I thought. Looks like immobilizers may be the culprit as JakeY says below


News of today.
Montreal is waiting for a BIG Tesla Store.
We can’t wait !

Independent dealer network looks better and better.

Feel free to shove that foot farther up…

Is that a non sequitur?

What does the dealer network have to do with anything?

Tesla is blocking imports of Model S because it says it is not in a position to support them. A local independent dealer would be more than happy to.

I see.

Interestingly, nothing is stopping a local independent dealer from buying used Teslas and doing the homologation.

Except for the import ban.

DRL, french language, display, catalyst (for gasoline cars) ETC ETC.
Anyway with the currrent Exchange rate, it will never be a good idea to import a Tesla or any cars.

I sold my S85 to a guy in Slovakia and was very happy with the deal.

Not cool Tesla. For the daylight running lights (DLR) I would assume that it’s programmable like everything else in a model S. Technically any model S should be able to switch to DLR as soon as the GPS figures you’re in Canada. I can’t think of any other “substantial” modifications required.

All it would take is a couple of relays to turn the DRLs on and then knock them off when the lights are switched on. Not exactly rocket science if a dim-witted welder can work out how to do it…

It’s nothing more than price protectionism. Even when our dollars are at par, Canadian car prices are still thousands of dollars higher, and usually have double the ‘destination fee’, than in the states. Numerous car companies do this… you can buy a used Lotus in the US for nearly half the price as in Canada, but they are not ‘importable’ by law, for example.

What about importing from another Commonwealth country, would that be possible?

For the Lotus specifically? No. There is a list online of ‘importable’ vehicles:


Rules for countries other than the US (basically a big fat NO):


Couldn’t a Canadian take ownership in the US and then drive their car back home?

No. Have you ever filled out a customs form when travelling? You are required to report your purchases and/or goods and services you acquired while abroad. Even if you try to avoid the legal ‘import’ by just driving it over the border, I doubt you’d ever be able to register it without the proper paperwork proving it was legally imported.

When I moved to Canada, I had to report a notebook computer that I picked up in the United States and had to pay import duties. When I later moved back to the US, those duties were refunded.

I’m guessing registration would be the issue. Which makes me wonder what happens to any used American Teslas in Canada now that are already registered? If they try to renew their registration will it get denied?

There is still the question of registering a US ‘used’ Tesla in Canada if it is not on Transport Canada’s approved list.

Here in England, we have a lot of European workers. Some of them, Polish for instance, pay very little for car insurance back home.
What they do is bring their car here from home, don’t pay for the annual MOT test, don’t pay road tax and don’t pay insurance here. They can do this as long as they take it back home once a year to do those things back in Poland which costs them a lot less.
Could you do a similar thing in Canada? Buy the car in America, keep it and use it in Canada but take it back over the border once a year to tax, insure and MOT it?

I don’t think it’s simply DRLs.

It’s most likely the anti-theft regulaton. Tesla had an exemption to the anti-theft requirements for the Model S in the US, but it might not necessarily translate over to Canada:

The Canadian website lists:
“daytime running lights, manual transmission clutch interlock, anti-theft immobilizer equipment”

This document from 2012 lists 8 different standards that are not harmonized between the US and Canada vehicle standards:

It feels that we all (Canadians, Americans, whoever) live in a big jail. It is a nice jail alright, we can all go running in the yard, drive an EV, etc., but it becomes painfully apparent when we try to exit or especially enter our home country that the perceived freedom has a harsh limit.

I see only one solution to this dilemma, just annex Canada 😉

Someone has put some thought into this 😀


One has to inform you that there WILL be repercussions!!!


Her Maj…

Transport Canada should be able to provide details of safety, or testing requirements that would need to be satisfied. Since Tesla’s statement makes reference to “Tesla Service Centers are currently not in a position to support the substantial modifications required”. The use of “currently not in a position to support” would indicate Tesla plans to offer modification, or Canadian update kit at a future date. (eg: added equipment for cold weather operation)

The “modification” requirement … if currently not available to be preformed in Canada could conceivably be preformed at a US Service Center. All seems to be a matter of timing and logistics as Tesla grows to support a more markets in more geographic regions.

Just removed Tesla Model S from my wish list.

Everyone in Canada has figured by now that our free trade agreement with the US is all about corporate profit and not at all about Canadian consumers. Too bad to see Tesla jump on the bandwagon of corporate greed.

The border is ridiculous now. If we need to go to Canada for meetings, we need to have a letter of invitation. If anyone from my company plans on doing any work in Canada, they have to pay Canada $1,000 for each visit.

You can still buy an OEM Canadian Tesla from Tesla, you just can’t buy one from the US.

Which is a bit of a problem – most of the time, the cost differential is quite a lot. But with that anti-theft immobilizer that needs to be installed… I dunno. That almost justifies the difference, right?

This really makes me mad!!! The roadster can not be any more difficult to convert than the sedan so why would it be more expensive, I think they should build the cars so every car is wired and fitted out to our standards.There are a lot of people that were interested in going to the US to buy a Tesla sedan but Telsa refuses to convert them, . I think this is mean and foolish.

Canadians can buy either new, or a used Canadian one. Why get all twisted up without more information? Tesla is still a small company with many other things to do. Coming up with a Canada specific retrofit kitand installation procedures and then training their service people for used Model S’s is likely too much for over already full plate. Maybe they can address this later.

This has nothing to do with Transport Canada. It’s Tesla that does not want US Model S’ being sold in Canada and creating an imbalance in the market. Tesla is opening a number of stores in Canada and as a sensible business decision wants to have Canadians buy from those stores.

Tesla has always been willing to explain their decisions. Just wait for them to tell you why instead if making a big deal of it. We do have different regulations for Canadian vehicles so why not let Tesla ensure that the vehicles sold on this side of the border comply. There are used Tesla model s for sale up here.

People have been asking this question since july and Tesla won’t give an answer. Thats the big problem. If Elon would just step up and give an explanation as to why it’s so difficult to make US cars compliant I’d accept that but there just doesn’t seem to be a good reason.
As far as why one would want to bring a car up from the states there are a lot more used cars available so the prices are 25-30 thousand dollars less.