All new Tesla vehicles purchased in Australia will now have Autopilot as standard.
The update, which follows just a week since Tesla announced the option would now be standard in the US, shows on the Australian Model S and Model X configurator pages.
This is significant, because it will have a bearing on the starting price for the Tesla Model 3 when it arrives in Australia mid-2019.
There has been much speculation about the price of the Model 3 in Australia, from the Alex Shoolman model which had the base price starting at $A54,212 (however this model is now over 18 months old) to the more recent Model 3 calculator as created by aspiring Model 3 owner Alexei Watson which suggests a starting price of $A62,000.
An email we came across last week that was emailed by an “overzealous” Tesla staff member went so far as suggesting the Model 3 may start as low as $60,000 – however Tesla has explicitly stated that this is not correct and pricing has not been set.
It’s reasonable to suppose that since the Model S and X now include Autopilot in Australia, the Model 3 will also.
So, to price (more speculation).
The Autopilot option, which enables the car to steer, brake and accelerate automatically on the driver’s behalf, previously cost an extra $A4,300.
When introduced in the US, Tesla added $US2,000 ($A2,842 at today’s rates) to the price of all its models.
However Tesla’s pricing add-ons in Australia don’t seem to be so straightforward. To wit (but keeping the Standard Range out of the equation as the Model X did not have it as an option last month):
- The Performance Model S was priced in March 2019 at $A164,465 drive away if bought in NSW.
- It now costs $A165,555 driveaway – $A1,090 more.
- The Long Range Model S was priced in March 2019 at $A142,350 drive away if bought in NSW.
- It now costs $A152,590 – $A10,240 more.
- The Performance Model X was priced in March 2019 at $A171,425 drive away if bought in NSW.
- It now costs $A174,430 – $A3,005 more.
- The Long Range Model X was priced in March 2019 at $A151,225 drive away if bought in NSW.
- It now costs $A161,870 – $A10,645 more.
The cheapest version of the Model 3 we can safely assume may be an option for Australia would be the Standard Range Plus which, prior to adding Autopilot as standard, Watson’s calculator had priced at $A65,206 based on on-day conversion rates.
Watson’s model now says the Model 3 Standard Range Plus will be $A69,805 – using the straight conversion from the new price of the Standard Range Plus in the US ($US39,500).
Price for full self-driving for any model is now $A7,100, although if not bought upfront it will cost a cool $A10,000 later on (and this will increase substantially over time, Musk tweeted on April 13, 2019).
A price of close to $A70,000 puts the Model 3 well above its closest competitor, the all-electric long-range Hyundai Kona Elite model which starts at $A59,990 and sells for around $A64,858 drive away, according to Car Sales.
While the Standard Range Plus has considerably less range (341km EPA) than the Kona Electric (480km EPA), it does get the benefit of continual updates released by Tesla, including of course Autopilot now as standard.
With Autopilot becoming a central aspect of the Tesla model – as was outlined in yesterday’s Autonomy Day – and examples of its use in long distance trips such as by Richard Smith aka @OutbackTesla, it is clearly here to stay.
And with the RHD version of the Model 3 just months away from arriving on Australian soil and a configurator possibly online within weeks, an end to the speculation will soon be at hand.
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.