In the early hours of this morning, Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed what many Autralians have been waiting for, a concrete timeline for Model 3 orders.
Back in March 2016, Musk revealled the Model 3 to the world, and opened pre-orders, taking deposits from customers without a firm date for delivery. Naturally the US-based company supplied vehicles to America first, then China and most recently Europe.
The international expansion is proving challenging for Tesla, but not one they’re shying away from, continuing the rollout to the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
With Musk confirming that the UK Model 3 order page will go live next week, that confirms it for Monday 29th April, 2019 to Friday May 3rd, 2019. The next part of the tweet is the important bit, that right-hand drive markets like Australia, will ‘shortly’ follow the UK. Expect the order page to go live in Australia somewhere between May 6th, 2019 and May 10th, 2019.
Those who pre-ordered can expect to recieve an email from Tesla, inviting you to customise your Model 3, so Tesla knows what to build. The 3+ years is an incredibly long time to wait for any product, but feels especially long for something like a vehicle. While many have asked Elon for something special as a thanks for waiting patiently, so far there hasn’t been any discounts, unique pickup events, or bonuses.
The reality is, that early injection of cash (pre-orders cost A$1,500) and the strength of the pre-orders, gave the company and investors confidence the Model 3 was a hit. There’ll be a mix of Aussie Model 3 owners, some that get a buzz from feelinglike they’re part of helping execute Tesla’s vision of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy, while others just want a car that performs and looks the business.
Personally I wanted to hold off on pre-ordering instantly, instead waiting until we knew local pricing, but at the start of 2019 (literally Jan 1), the potential long cue ahead of me got the better of me and I put down the deposit and am also anxiously awaiting the customisation email.
I have a 15yo Mitsubishi Lancer and one of the hazards of the job is having access to some amazing vehicles, all of which remind me how old my car is.
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to drive dozens of cars from different manufactuers, but Tesla is unlike any other and its a brand that’s saying the right things, doing the right things that gets me excited for the future of vehicles.
Driving an electric vehicle is so fundamentally different than any other driving experience than I’ve had. As insane as the Nissan GTR Nismo edition was to drive around The Bend, it still relied on yesterday’s technology, not tomorrows and that’s where my heart ultimately is.
From the day the Model 3 arrives in Australia, it’ll get better over time with an embedded SIM card that enables over-the-air updates. Previously this was achieved with an undisclosed deal with Teslstra, using a 3G sim, but given what we learnt this week, about the amount of data being sent back to base, I’d expect this to be a 4G and maybe even 5G SIM slot.
Tesla are also likely to be the winners of the race to enable level 4/5 autonomy. As someone with a brother than has had multiple car accidents due to a medical condition, someone with aging parents, I am encouraged by the opportunity to transport people safely, without a dependency on humans.
The only question that remains is which options to select when configuring your Tesla Model 3. Based on what we know from the US order page, we can expect to have a fairly small number of choices, like RWD or AWD (dual motors), short or long range battery, size and style of rims, paint colour and the choice of black or white interior.
While I’d absolutely love to get the Model 3 Performance model, the budget simply won’t stretch to what is expected to be close to A$100k. I’d love for there to be no luxury car tax in Australia, something our politicians could acutally help with, but despite lots of conversation about EVs, there really is no immediate relief.
I’m also incredibly interested, and slightly torn, by the ability to enrol the car in the Tesla fleet (aka Uber competitor). Regulation in Australia tends to move at a snails pace, so even after Tesla enable the autonomous fleet in the US, I’d expect it to be a year or more before it is achieveable in Australia. Once it does, the potential to send your car out during the day to make money for you, is incredibly inviting.
In terms of cost, the Model 3 actually represents the best performance vs price for an EV to date. The Model S is the performance benchmark, but Jaguar’s I-Pace undercut that for fairly punchy numbers. Jag’s ability to justify their price is about the be undercut by the Model 3’s entry in Australia, and with its ability to go faster and further for less money, the I-Pace is about to get really hard to justify.
There are cheaper EVs in Australia, like the Hyundai Kona, but that’s engineered for a cheaper price point and therefore doesn’t have the range or acceleration the Model 3 will offer. That means it’ll be great for a certain demographics, but as someone who is addicted to speed, this just doesn’t intrest me.
I see there’s a decision to be made, buy a car with the minimum options (FSD is a must) and look at it as a business opportunity, or option a car that you absolutely love with all the personal upgrades to meet your personal preferences.
I look forward to reviewing and owning the Tesla Model 3 sometime this year, although I have no idea how long the queue is ahead of me and how many units little old Australia will recieve, as we fight for units among the other RHD markets. The Model 3 Australia Facebook Group is 500 strong, so I’d expect the number to be in the thousands.
Expect lots more news about the Model 3 on techAU into the future.