Can I Take My Tesla To Mexico? Crossing the Border

Tesla Supercharger in Mexico Ramos Arizpe near Saltillo

Electric vehicle early adopter and enthusiast Wade Harris recently retired from Flathead Electric Cooperative after nearly 28 years. His first goal in retirement: driving his Tesla Model 3 from Montana to Mexico! Can he take his Tesla to Mexico City? Let’s find out! This is the second entry of a six-part series written by Wade.

Entry #2 – Crossing the Mexico Border in my Tesla

Think of this post as an overview of how to manage the Mexico border crossing in an EV. It’s a little different, and I’ve got plenty of pro tips! 

After topping off my battery, it was time to cross the border from Laredo, Texas, United States to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Because I plan to spend at least a month in Mexico, and I plan to drive far south of the “Border Area,” I must have an FMM (a visa for myself) and a TVP (a permit for my vehicle).  Oh, and don’t forget Mexican vehicle insurance, easy to obtain online! 

At the crossing, the Mexican Border Control checks out you and your car.  This is where your poor, broken Spanish becomes valuable.  It’s tricky to get to the building where you obtain your FMM and TVP, but with the help of Border Control and your Tesla’s huge navigation screen, they can show you the building on the map, and you can click on it and get directions. In their broken Inglés, Border Control tells me to “go under the bridge.”  That is a great tip and becomes obvious when I am at that point.   

Tesla Model 3 Big Touchscreen navigation screen
Tesla Model 3 Big Touchscreen. Tesla photo.

Obtaining the FMM at the Mexican border is straightforward:

  • Present your U.S. passport — and a copy.
  • State the time you expect to spend in Mexico (the maximum allowed is 180 days).
  • Pay about $30 USD and receive your FMM (March 2022 exchange rate).

Then comes the TVP:

  • First, you must purchase a copy of the FMM, because you must have copies of all documents you present!
  • The TVP costs more money after presenting your FMM, Passport, Vehicle Registration or Title.
  • After that, the big item is the required $400 USD deposit. You get this back when you return to the US at the Banjercito in Mexico, the same place you obtain the TVP. (Banjercito is a military bank that helps individuals obtain temporary importation permits for vehicles being brought into Mexico by those visiting the country.) 

(Please do your own research and Google these terms before driving your Tesla to Mexico.)  

And I’m on my way!  Pro tip: be sure to disable the “Avoid Toll Roads” toggle in your Navigation if you have it set.  

Tesla Supercharger in Mexico Ramos Arizpe near Saltillo
Charging up at the Tesla Supercharger in Ramos Arizpe near Saltillo, Mexico.

Here’s a snap of my first charge at a Tesla Supercharger in Mexico! It’s the same hassle-free charging experience I’ve come to expect in the U.S.  Just connect your car and disconnect a few minutes after the display says you are ready to continue on your trip. After you disconnect, your credit card on file with Tesla is charged.

Afterward, I found some delicious Mexican food. Just like eating pizza in Italy, you can’t go wrong with Mexican food in Mexico. Next post: the fun begins!

-Wade

Read the first entry here and the next entry here. You can follow Wade’s adventures on Instagram @wade_406. If you’d like to learn more about electric vehicles, please visit the Co-op’s website