Australian reservation holders for the Tesla Model 3 have been given an opportunity to preview the new electric car in Sydney and Melbourne today.
Due to Australia’s Tesla showrooms being the most easterly in the world, keen locals were the first globally to put down a $1500 refundable deposit to reserve their place in the Model 3 production queue when books opened on April 1, 2016 (US time).
Tesla’s local PR wouldn’t confirm the number of Australian reservation holders, but as of Q1 2018 Tesla reported there were more than 450,000 globally. Model 3 production began in July 2017, however, according to an Elon Musk tweet right-hand drive production won’t begin until mid-2019.
Reservation holders have the choice of completing the order or having their deposit refunded.
Pricing is yet to be released, however, another Musk tweet supplied by Tesla stated that Australian pricing would be equivalent to that of the US plus local taxes, which allows us to provide a rough estimate as to Australian pricing. Be aware these figures are purely MOTOR estimates only.
At current exchange rates, converting the base Model 3’s US$35,000 equates to $52,360 after the application of GST but before state taxes. Exact specs have not yet been confirmed for the variant, but Tesla claims a 350km range and a 0-97km/h time of 5.6sec. No base Model 3s have yet been built as Tesla concentrates on manufacturing higher-spec variants.
The car on display in Tesla’s Melbourne showroom was optioned with the longer-range 500km battery, which feeds 198kW/416Nm to the rear wheels for a claimed 0-97km/h of 5.1sec. It also included the Premium interior, including 12-way power adjustable heated seats, new seat material, a tinted full-length glass roof, premium audio and open-pore wood décor.
Tesla offers this model for US$49,000, which equates to A$73,304 after conversion and the application of GST but before local taxes.
Adding all-wheel drive lifts outputs to 258kW/527Nm and slashes the 0-97km/h time to just 4.5sec but complicates the pricing equation. The current US$53,000 price tips the Model S AWD over the Luxury Car Tax threshold, meaning the extra performance will require A$105,453.
Finally, the 340kW/639Nm Model S AWD ‘Performance’ and its 3.5sec 0-97km/h acceleration potential retails for US$64,000, which converts to $127,340 after currency conversion, GST and LCT. Fully-optioned, a Model 3 AWD Performance should land just under $150,000.
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If these prices are accurate, the Model 3 will land as an intriguing electrified alternative to the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. On paper, its performance is certainly competitive and our brief static encounter suggests its technology and practicality are too.
But just where it sits against the established German premium benchmarks can’t be answered until Tesla’s new sedan-hatch lands in Australia in the second half of 2019.