Tesla Model 3 lands in Oz ahead of 2019 launch
Tesla Australia has become the first division outside the US to show its Model 3 to thousands of customers who have placed a $1500 deposit for the medium-sized electric vehicle at least a year before they will be delivered.
A trio of left-hand-drive Model 3s have been imported, bound for three Tesla stores nationwide, in middle-grade, rear-wheel drive and longrange battery specification, all with optional 19-inch alloy wheels and a premium interior.
A silver sedan is headed to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley store, while red examples are each destined for Sydney’s Martin Place and Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre stores, initially for a private showing for customers – however the public is now invited to see the vehicle at the stores.
Tesla Australia senior manager of marketing and communications Heath Walker declined to specify how many locals had placed a deposit for the Model 3, but said it was in the thousands given how many had been invited to the showing.
“We wanted to give our reservation holders a first look, an exclusive look,” he said. “We’ll answer questions while they’re queuing up, and then they’ll get about five minutes in the vehicle to actually sit in and experience and see what it’s like. I guess that will help prepare them for future choices when they do go in to design their car.”
Currently those placing a $1500 deposit have only been able to hold a reservation for a generic Model 3, unable to yet select a model grade, options, an exterior colour or interior trim – and nor have they been told the exact price.
However, Mr Walker confirmed Australia would follow the US with three Model 3 model grades – the entry-level rear-wheel drive short-range battery, the middle-tier version with a long-range battery, and the ‘performance’ with the latter’s big battery but quicker acceleration and goodies such as a track mode.
Unlike with the Model S, which has badging that denotes the size of the battery pack in kilowatt hours, Mr Walker said Tesla would not confirm or refer to the battery size in the Model 3.
“We don’t give away the size of the battery, so we’ve got a standard battery and a longrange battery,” he said.
“We’ve found that a lot of people don’t understand what kilowatt hours are, so we’re just keeping it based on range.
“So there’s standard battery, long-range with rear-wheel drive, and then you’ve got long-range with dual motor and all-wheel drive, and long-range dual-motor with performance option.
“Standard battery is about a 350km range, and the longrange battery is 500km.”
The slowest Model 3 takes 5.6 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100kmh and costs from $US35,000 Stateside, which should translate to a circa-$50,000 pricetag for Australian buyers.
Meanwhile, the quickest version takes 3.5 seconds to hit triple digits, which Mr Walker confirmed would stretch beyond the luxury-car tax limit of $A75,526 for fuel-efficient vehicles.