Tesla Model 3 registrations attract big queues for first "mass-market" EV

Tesla Model 3 registrations attract big queues for first “mass-market” EV

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Hundreds queue in Sydney and Melbourne for chance to be first in world to register for Tesla Model 3. And they don’t yet know what it looks like.

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The Tesla electric vehicle has been compared to an Apple iPhone on wheels. Judging by the turn-out for registrations for the new Tesla model, at least their marketing success in on a par.

This morning, the opportunity to be the first in the world to slap down a $A1,500 deposit and make a reservation for Tesla Motor’s new mass market Model 3 attracted queues of more than 100 people in both Sydney and Melbourne – even though they have yet to see what the new model looks like.

The first to register was a chap named Andreas Stephens, who took a camp chair to Tesla’s sales office in the Sydney suburb of St Leonards on Tuesday morning to make sure he was the first in the world to register.

A Tesla spokesman confirmed that Stephens was indeed the first and said that “more than 100 people” had queued in each of Sydney and Melbourne. He said Tesla would not reveal total registration numbers.

Tesla is due to release its Model 3 in another glittering and heavily promoted event in Los Angeles on Thursday night (Friday afternoon Sydney time).

The Model 3 is expected to be priced at less than one half of that of the high performance Model S, and the vulcan-winged electric SUV dubbed the Model X. The Model 3 is expected to sell in the US for $US35,000, but local tax incentives could bring this price down by one quarter.

Even though Stephens queued for two days for the honour of being the first to register, he won’t be the first to receive a Model 3 vehicle. That’s because production and sales will begin on the west coast of the US in late 2017, and probably won’t be available in Australia until early next year.

According to this report, Stephens expects the Model 3 to cost between $A60,000 and $A70,000, including the cost of making it right-hand drive. “Stephens is not a big car enthusiast,” the report said. “He still drives a 22-year-old Toyota Corolla. He became interested in Tesla because his son could never stop talking about Elon Musk.”

Earlier this week, Simon Hackett, the IT entrepreneur and self-confessed “number one fan” of Tesla vehicles in Australia said he would be ordering a Model 3. He already has a number of Model S EVs, a Tesla Roadster, and a Model X on order.

Hackett said he was not fazed by the fact that the model was not yet released. “Tesla makes the most impressive vehicles in the world, I’m absolutely sure this one’s not going to be an exception, especially if they want to sell 10 times as many of them.”

Musk says that the Model 3 will be the car that takes electric vehicle into the “mainstream.” It is expected to look similar to the Model S, but will have a smaller range, some 200 miles (330kms).

Analysts say there is a lot riding on the success of the Model 3, particularly for Tesla Motors, which is yet to turn a profit.

RBC Capital Markets auto analyst Joseph Spak told the Wall Street Journal that Tesla will have to make “compromises” to achieve high volumes, but “we doubt technology will be one of them.” Spak said the vehicle could have semiautonomous driving technology.

Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas told WSJ that said the Model 3 will have acceleration and handling characteristics on par with BMWs, and come in various configurations.

“We expect the Model 3 range will include a variety of body styles including a four-door sedan, coupe, cabriolet, small SUV and other passenger configurations,” he told WSJ.

Musk is hoping that the Model 3 will help the company reach annual sales of  500,000 EVs by 2020. The Model 3 will compete with new mass-market EVs from GM and Nissan.



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  1. Jennifer Gow 5 years ago

    Why $35k is the US and $70k in Australia?

    • Illuminati 5 years ago

      Why 48k$ in Canada ?

      • Pfitzy 5 years ago

        Exchange rate as a starting point? USD1 = CAD1.3, therefore USD35K becomes CAD45.5K based on that.

    • Charles 5 years ago

      The Aus prices are just estimates – probably based on the Model S price in US and Australia.

      • Jennifer Gow 5 years ago

        Currently the exchange rate is .75 which means the equivalent of $US35k is a little under $AU47. An extra $23k just to ship and make right hand drive seems more than a tad over the top.
        In any case i don’t need an electric car that performs like a BMW. One that performs like a Huyandi I30 would do just fine.

        • Giles 5 years ago

          i agree on the Hyundai 130. but price differential is not known yet, might just be $A60,000 here and could be “on road” costs too. remember, australia also has GST, although this might fit under luxury car tax.

          • Dan 5 years ago

            My guess is AUD$55k on road

        • Andreas Stephens 5 years ago

          Hi Jennifer.

          Having had a good night’s sleep, I ought to clarify that my stated price expectation of between $60k to $70k includes some options and on-road costs. My apologies if that did not come out clearly in the press. I am particularly keen on auto pilot/autonomous driving and sound options, but maybe less so on lighting, appearance, and seating material upgrades. I am more of Hi-Fi, than a car enthusiast. However, given how silent the driving in a Tesla is, it is worth investing in good sound!

          When I quoted my price expectation to the press, I was very focused on my actual out-of-pocket expense rather than the nominal cost of the base model car. I am also conservative by nature. The Model 3 I will purchase will cost ME between $60k and $70k.

          Without any add-on options and on the road costs (that any other similarly priced vehicle would also incur), I would expect the Model 3 to cost in the low to mid $50k’s.

          As for the “over the top performance”, you need to understand that Elon Musk and Tesla are trying to “nuke” every possible argument against electric vehicles. Given the vested interests of traditional car manufacturers, Tesla want to demonstrate that their cars are superior in every aspect to internal combustion engine vehicles. Given that “lack of power” and “low driving range” are two of the key arguments against electric cars, Tesla had to not only match but surpass conventional cars in performance.

          I am sure that in a few years time, when Tesla cars are the new norm, model specifications will be driven by customer demand.

    • JeffJL 5 years ago

      Why does it cost more to download songs in Australia than in the US?

      Why does it cost more to buy an i phone in Australia than in the US?

      Because we are stupid enough to pay through the nose.

    • Michael Dufty 5 years ago

      Because $AUD will be worth $0.50 USD by then? Quite possible.

    • Barri Mundee 5 years ago

      Tax breaks and incentives in the US. Nothing like that here.

  2. Ian 5 years ago

    I hope the government is taking notice of the emerging EV phenomenon ….
    Given the vast amounts of $A currently spent on foreign liquid fuels, adding to the defecit, a subsidy to assist in the initial uptake of EVs would seem good for the country on many fronts.

  3. Pfitzy 5 years ago

    Is there going to be any positive/negative effect via TPPA when the government’s import purchase policy changes in 2017?

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