Tesla Model 3 lands in Oz ahead of 2019 launch

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

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.

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