Tesla is welcoming its new competition with open arms.
The American EV maker currently holds a dominant position for electric vehicles in the local market with no direct competition in the premium sector. That will change in October when the Jaguar I-Pace (below) hits Australian roads and then with the Audi e-tron Sportback and Mercedes-EQ C both due locally within the next two years to rival the Tesla Model X. As well as those, the new Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq EV will compete with the Model 3 when it arrives in 2019.
Despite the impending arrival of established car manufacturers into the electric market set to end its monopoly, Tesla is happy to have the competition.
“We’ve always been on record saying we encourage other manufacturers to bring other electric vehicles to market. It aligns back to our mission to accelerate the world to sustainable energy,” a Tesla spokesman told Drive this week.
The American brand will respond to the competition with new models of its own. The new-generation Roadster (below) revealed last year is due to enter production in 2020 and several Australians have already placed orders for the electric sports car.
Tesla will also add a second SUV, the Model Y, which is expected to be revealed in March 2019 and will enter production in 2020; although that could mean it may not reach Australia until 2022 based on Model 3 timing.
The company also confirmed that the Model 3 is due to finally reach Australia by the end of 2019, with right-hand drive production scheduled to begin in the middle of next year. The new smaller, more affordable model has suffered numerous production delays which has hampered deliveries in the US and pushed back its global launch. Australian customers have placed deposits on the car since it was first revealed in March 2016 and the Tesla spokesman said most have waited patiently, but not all.
“There’s been fluctuations in reservations up and down, but nothing of great significance,” the spokesman said. “We don’t have people coming in here complaining about the delays. We’ve been very transparent around the timing of the manufacturing. I think people are pretty keen to get their hands on the vehicle but also willing to wait as well.
"At the moment they have a reservation and that will transition to an order once vehicles are set for production.”
Tesla Australia hasn’t officially confirmed pricing for the Model 3 but the company’s leader, Elon Musk, tweeted in July 2017 that it would be comparable to the US plus local taxes and duties, which means an approximate $50,000 starting price for the entry-level model that costs US$35,000.
Tesla’s other future model, the Semi for the trucking industry is also on the agenda for Australia.
“There’s some trucking companies that are on the record that have shown interest,” the spokesman said.
However, there is no timeframe on local delivery as the focus is on the North American market.