Electric carmaker Tesla is readying itself for a cramping up of sales in Australia with the imminent opening of the online order page for its more affordable Model 3 electric sedan (expected as early as this week after orders opened in the UK last week).
A number of advertisements seeking staff for the Australian arm of the pioneering electric carmaker have been published through jobseeker website Seek, including for customer service staff, apprentice technician and sales and service advisors.
A new “customer experience specialist” is sought at each of three showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with the additional two roles of vehicle technician and sales advisor sought for Sydney and a service advisor sought for Melbourne.
Instore sales staff must have, according to Tesla’s job ads, “a desire to work with products that are changing the world”, the successful apprentice technician must have “a desire to work on cutting edge electric vehicle technology”, and the position of “inside sales advisor” is more directly involved in the introduction of the Model 3.
The listing of the last job in particular heralds the opening of the online configurator very, very soon (as announced by CEO and founder Elon Musk last week) and the arrival of the Model 3 itself this winter, which was finally confirmed by Musk last month.
The Model 3’s arrival in Australia will mark another significant moment for the local EV market, where a distinct lack of choice for electric cars has been a factor in holding Australia back from a global shift to zero emissions transport that is rapidly taking hold overseas.
The Model 3 has already become the best-selling electric vehicle of all time and the best-seller in its class including both electric and combustion vehicles in October 2018.
It is now being met with very promising sales as it expands into European and Chinese markets, and will present another more affordable option for those wanting to shift to EVs .
In Australia there are currently only a handful of electric models available on the market, and of those only a few that anywhere under the Luxury Car Tax threshold.
The new job search comes as Tesla Motors Australia revealed a fall in EV sales revenue in 2018, down 26 per cent for the year to $125 million, although a tenfold jump in battery storage revenue allowed overall revenue to grow 65 per cent to $330 million.
It’s not entirely clear if this reflects a fall in the number of Tesla electric cars sold, or due to the drop in the price of the Model S and X as announced earlier this year, but it is known that there was $4.1 million in revenue from services alone, including repairs, maintenance services and service plans.
Tesla vehicles are considered superior by some to other vehicle brands in that the electric carmaker continues to offer improved features via over-the-air software upgrades.
Most recently, the carmaker has announced two more safety upgrades for its vehicles including “Lane Departure Avoidance” and “Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance.”
The former is described thus by Tesla:
Lane Departure Avoidance lets a driver elect to have corrective steering applied in order to keep them in their intended lane. When the feature is in use and a driver is departing a lane without their turn signal on, the car will also check to see whether a driver’s hands are on the wheel. If a driver’s hands are not detected on the wheel, the driver will receive a series of hands-on reminders and alerts, similar to the ones that our cars provide to customers who use Autopilot. If a driver’s hands are repeatedly not detected on the wheel when Traffic Aware Cruise Control is in use, their car will gradually slow down to 15 miles below the speed limit or below the car’s set speed and turn its hazard lights on.
This feature can be turned on or off, and works at speeds between 25 and 90 mph. It is an extension of Lane Departure Warning, which already warns drivers through a steering wheel vibration if they begin to drift out of their lane without their turn signal engaged.
While the emergency version is described thus:
Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance is designed to steer a Tesla vehicle back into the driving lane if our system detects that it is departing its lane and there could be a collision, or if the car is close to the edge of the road. This feature will automatically be enabled at the beginning of every drive, but can be turned off for a single drive by going to the Autopilot Controls menu.
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.