The arrival of the Tesla Model 3 all-electric sedan in Australia is one step closer after the electric carmaker received official certification for the Tesla Model 3, and revealed some key details for those awaiting the online configurator page to go live.
Two variants are listed on the Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) where certification – in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA), is listed. Both variants have been assigned towing capacity – 910kg braked and 750kg non-braked.
That might not be enough to tow a caravan, granted, but enough to take a load to the tip.
The fact that only two variants have been listed suggests that in Australia – like the USA and Europe – only the Performance and Long Range versions of the Model 3 may initially be available.
This would be surprising if confirmed, because in the UK (the first right hand drive market to receive the Model 3), the upgraded version of Tesla’s base model Standard Range, the Standard Range Plus (SRP), was made available from day one of it being available to market.
This also has some serious implications for price – as noted previously in The Driven, the availability of a SRP Model 3 could mean the best-selling electric sedan might hit the Australian market in the same price range as Hyundai’s all-electric Kona, up to $65,000.
However, this was dependent on it coming without Autopilot as standard. And because this is now a standard inclusion, in the UK this model now sells from £38,900 , or $A71,416 at today’s rates, putting it within reach of the luxury sales tax.
Without the SRP Model 3 available in Australia this means that the lowest price – before fees and taxes – will probably fall above the luxury car threshold, bringing the starting price of any Model 3 well above $A90,000 based on Tesla enthusiast Alexei Watson’s Model 3 pricing calculator.
What this will mean for uptake of the Model 3 in Australia will be seen – it has been noted overseas that when buying a Tesla, drivers often spend more money than they’ve ever spent before on a car, well above the value of previously owned vehicles.
The next step, according to those familiar with the matter, is for the Model 3 to pass a “Single Uniform Type Inspection” (SUTI) this weekend – that is, for at least one variant to be inspected in person to satisfy state and territory approval regulations.
So for now, it is still a waiting game – Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk responded to an Australian Tesla fan in March that production of the RHD Model 3 for Australia would begin in late May or June, with deliveries to start in winter.
There were rumours that the online order page would go live in mid-May, however that has passed without so much as a wink from Musk and now it appears it may not be until next week when we see some movement on the Tesla site – stay tuned.
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.