Australians and New Zealanders who have reserved a Tesla Model 3 are getting the chance to have an exclusive sneak peek at the much talked about “mass-market” electric vehicle.
The invitation was sent to the unknown number of Australian customers who put down $A1,500 deposits since the details of the Model 3 were first released, but who are now being told it will be well into 2019 before the first are delivered.
Tesla has at least three Model 3s in Australia because the unveiling will be held simultaneously in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane next week, with media also getting the opportunity for a preview. Customers will be allowed to touch and sit, but not drive the vehicle, which will be left hand drives.
Tesla founder Elon Musk has promised that construction of right hand drive Model 3s will begin mid 2019, although it is not clear when the first of these will arrive in Australia.
Model 3 was designed for min engineering & tooling change for RHD. Note left/right symmetry. LHD for Europe & Asia first half of next year. RHD probably middle of next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 25, 2018
The delays have caused frustrations for some, with reports that some Tesla fans were ditching their places in the queue to buy alternatives. But there is no real alternative in Australia.
It is estimated that around 450,000 customers put down a deposit for the Model 3, although it is not clear how many of those were in Australia.
Tesla has overcome initial production problems and ramped up production to more than 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of June.
The invitation sent by Tesla says:
As a Model 3 reservation holder, we are excited to invite you and one guest for an exclusive first look at Model 3 before we open to the public.
During the event, you’ll have the opportunity to sit inside Model 3 and experience the expansive glass roof, premium interior and 15-inch touchscreen display. Tesla product specialists will be available to answer any questions you may have about the safety, range and performance of all Tesla vehicles.
Tesla has overcome initial production problems and ramped up production to more than 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of June. In the last week, Tesla has filed over 16,000 new VIN registrations, according to Twitter group @Model3VINs.
That is added to positive reports in the Q2 2018 earnings call and promises by Musk to be cash flow positive from Q3 2018 onwards.
In a letter before the Q2 call, Musk also promised production of the Model 3 would be ramped up to 6,000 a week by late August, and looking at figures from Bloomberg’s Model 3 production tracker, Tesla is getting near that goal.
The Bloomberg tracker, which bases its numbers on gathering VINs from both the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and by scouring social media and forums, showscurrent Model 3 production rate at 5,824 a week.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.