Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk has responded to calls to open a retail outlet, Supercharger and service centre in the Western Australian capital, Perth.
To date there are five Tesla stores in Australia, all of which are on the more densely populated eastern seaboard, with two in Melbourne, two in Sydney and one in Brisbane.
The same applies to Australia’s 4 service centres, with two in Sydney, one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane.
Superchargers, which allow rapid charging for the EV maker’s three current models, are somewhat more widely spread, however the lion’s share are also on the eastern seaboard, with only one on the west coast at Eaton, which is on the outskirts on Bunbury and about a 2.5 hour drive from the western capital.
The question was put to the founder of the pioneering EV company by Jay Stanley (known as @Jays200 on Twitter), a member of the Tesla Owner’s Club of Western Australia (TOCWA), eliciting a positive response: “OK”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 11, 2019
The possibility of an opening of a store, service centre and Supercharger has been welcomed by EV enthusiasts residing in Australia’s most remote state capital.
As Harald Murphy, secretary of the TOCWA puts it, the addition of a Tesla store in Perth would result in “an explosion” of Teslas.
A store, Supercharger and service centre in Perth will lead to an explosion in the number of Teslas in Western Australia ???? https://t.co/W1LeaH27rx
— Harald Murphy (@harald_murphy) March 11, 2019
While Perth locations have been listed on the Tesla website for some time as “coming soon”, the imminent arrival of the Model 3 may be a deciding factor in timing for the EV maker.
Rob Dean, chairman of TOCWA, tells The Driven that he thinks there is going to be a lot of demand for the EV maker’s mass-market electric sedan.
“We show our cars at a lot of events,” he says. “We have a lot of people come up to us, saying they can’t wait for the Model 3 to get here.”
With over 200 Teslas already in Perth, Dean says that better servicing will be much needed.
“As far as servicing goes, it’s great – there’s a service guy here already working out of a garage but once these Model 3s start arriving, the service guy is going to be inundated.
“Getting spare parts in after a crash is going to be a slow process – that’s our issue for the long term.”
While there is no doubt that the opening of Tesla services and an outlet in Western Australia would be warmly welcomed, it does fly in the face of the EV maker’s recent announcement that it would close the majority of outlets in order to cut costs and bring to market the base Model 3, preferring to push sales through online instead.
The closure of stores was followed by dramatic drops in Model S and X pricing – up to 33 per cent for certain variants.
CEO and founder Elon Musk is well known for what appear to be “snap” decisions communicated via social media, however in this case the visionary entrepreneur assured the public this decision was indeed discussed with the executive team and board.
The decision did not affect stocks either, staying even at a market value of over $US50 billion on Monday even though Bloomberg reported some analysts said the decision did not evoke confidence.
Regardless, the carmaker has since backflipped on its decision, saying now that it would review and reopen some stores which had already closed, although it would mean pushing prices back up on the Model S and X by 3 per cent.
We are still closing stores, just not as many as before. This basically splits the difference — about half as many stores closed, but then can afford only about half the price reduction. Was discussed with exec team & board.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 12, 2019
Tesla Australia has not yet been able to respond regarding timing of a possible Perth store but we will keep you posted once we know more.
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.