(Note: Please see disclaimer below following reader response to data).
Tesla may be a marketing and search engine phenomenon, but they do like to keep the details of their sales figures close to their chest – even going so far as declining to reveal numbers for their electric cars and battery storage in Australia.
RenewEconomy, however, can reveal the total registrations of Tesla EVs in Australia up to early 2017, and break them down by postcode, as assembled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And it provides a fascinating insight into the buying patterns.
It will come as no surprise that cars with a base price of around $120,000 will find a ready market in the ritzier postcodes of the country, and this data confirms that.
What is surprising is how the market is dominated by NSW – where Tesla opened its first stores, and which account for 508, or two thirds, of the 737 Tesla EVs registered in Australia to early 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data obtained by RenewEconomy.
The NSW total is well ahead of Queensland (the country’s 3rd most populous state), where Tesla owners number at just shy of 180 registered Tesla vehicles.
Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, only had 12 Teslas registered up to early 2017, according to the ABS data.
Teslas are largely found in cities, according to the figures, although they are also found in regional areas of NSW and Queensland, from as far north as Cairns and down to NSW’s South Coast.
Western Australia has a fair representation of Tesla owners, coming in at third for most number of Teslas registered up to early 2017, at 34. South Australia and Tasmania get a look in with 3 registered in each state.
In the Northern Territory, according to ABS data, there are literally no Teslas in sight – although thanks to @outbacktesla who picked up Dutch EV advocate and adventurer Wiebe Wakker from Darwin airport in June, we know for a fact there have been at least three registered since the Motor Vehicle Census was completed.
Indeed, it should be pointed out that the number of electric vehicles has likely grown by around 3,000 since the date that this data was assembled, and with few competitors in the market, Tesla can be assumed to have taken the lion’s share.
Putting NSW a little more under scrutiny, it appears that the most Teslas are owned and registered in the more affluent suburbs with the Crows Nest / St Leonard’s postcode boasting 30 Teslas in total. That may be because that is where the Tesla store is located.
All in all, Sydney’s North is home to 69 Teslas, stretching through Lindfield and further note, while the central Sydney area of postcode 2000 has 16 Teslas cruising around.
Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, from Paddington and Bellevue Hill to Rose Bay and Bondi, can count a total of 50 Teslas on the roads.
With a total of just under 5,986 electric passenger vehicles registered in 2017, Teslas had captured around 12 per cent of the total full electric/hybrid vehicle market.
The total of 737 Teslas registered to the date of this data is not a great deal more than the number of followers of the Tesla Owners Club AU twitter account, which at this point in time has 653 avid fans.
Note: A couple of readers have disputed the numbers here, saying their own data and anecdotal evidence suggests much greater numbers in some areas, such as Melbourne and Tasmania.
We point out that this is data compiled by the ABS, and it’s dated early 2017, and only gives figures up to that point. It is the most recent available from the ABS, but we’ll give them your feedback and report back on the details..
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.