Australian deliveries of the first Tesla Model 3 electric sedans are set to commence within weeks, and the anticipation has many spotters and fans on the lookout for the first of the long-awaited cars from the EV pioneer to arrive by ship.
Available online since the end of May 2019, three years after it was first made available overseas, deliveries of the Model 3 to Australian customers were first slated to commence in August, although a recent message sent to some Tesla customers has indicated that first buyers may be waiting until September.
More recently though, some customers have begun receiving messages saying that, “Your Model 3 is almost here”.
— VedaPrime (@VedaPrime) August 2, 2019
This and a photo posted on social media site Reddit showing a RHD Model 3 ready to ship has had spotters and customers speculating as to which cargo ship will bring the first of the Model 3s to Australia, and how many might be on that first shipload.
Of course, there are at least 12 Model 3s on the ground in Australia (all for publicity and media purposes it is understood), and select members of the public had the opportunity to sit in one of them at a recent event publicised via Facebook. But there have yet to be any shipments.
It is understood that it is not likely that the first Model 3s will arrive via a roll-on-roll-off vehicle carrier (RoRo), and that a container ship at this stage is more likely (this would be in line with UK deliveries which began with a first shipment of about 150 units).
It would appear that the most likely carriers are at this stage the Cap Capricorn, which may have a small initial load and is due to arrive in Brisbane on Monday 12th August, and Sydney on August 16 (rumours are 500 units on this ship).
The next carrier likely to arrive with Model 3s is understood to be the Brotonne Bridge, which is due to arrive in Brisbane on August 26 and Sydney August 30.
Of course, deliveries to fellow RHD market, the UK, have been well underway for some months now, and another shipload (the Glovis Conductor, a RoRo) is currently readying itself for departure to the British Isles – as illustrated in these fantastic photos shot by Simon Williams via Twitter:
— Scott Black (@Pres_Black) August 4, 2019
According to a few intrepid Model 3 spotters there are around 3,000 right-hand drive Model 3 waiting to be shipped to the UK in these images.
Tesla, however, remains tight-lipped about how many Australian orders have been submitted, so it will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out.
The Model 3 is the third volume production electric vehicle from the California-based carmaker, and the first to be aimed at the mass-market (although its price in Australia remains high compared to equivalent sized internal combustion vehicles due to battery costs, currency conversion rates and in the case of certain order configurations including Performance and Long Range, a luxury car tax.)
But as the electric car market in Australia begins a gradual ramping up as more EVs come onto the market, Tesla no doubt hope that it will gain the same accolades and sales success as its best-selling status in the US.
In addition to being a ground-breaking vehicle that Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk hopes will change the face of the automotive industry, disrupt dependence on oil and petrol, and become the base for a fleet of automated “robo-taxis”, the Model 3 recently gained a 5-star rating from Australia’s car safety body ANCAP, cementing its reputation for safety after also receiving 5-star ratings from the US-based NHTSA and Euro NCAP.
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.