Source: Tesla
Source: Tesla

Australian drivers are now able to pay and finalise orders for Tesla’s Model 3 electric sedan, with the Californian EV maker updating the local website on Tuesday to allow payment, select pickup and delivery locations and confirm trade-ins.

It’s a momentous day for many who have waited more than three years since the Model 3 was first unveiled to the world in 2016.

While it is unknown exactly how many Australians reserved and are now finalising orders for the world’s best-selling electric car, two polls conducted by Tesla fans in Australia have uncovered a similar phenomenon to buying decisions for the Model 3 as in the US, known as the “Tesla Stretch”.

CEO and founder Elon Musk recently told an earnings call that trade-in data for the Model 3 indicated that “for many people it is the most expensive car they’ve ever bought, so they are clearly demonstrating with their money that they’re willing to spend extra money to get a Tesla“.

The two pop vox polls, conducted on the Tesla Motors Club (Australia & New Zealand) forum and in the Tesla Model 3 Australia facebook group, show that most buyers who answered the poll estimate they are spending an extra $30,000 to buy a Model 3 in Australia than it would cost to replace their current car.

In the Tesla forum poll named “Model 3 poll – The Tesla stretch”, members were asked, “How much is your Tesla stretch compared to a current vehicle if replaced new?”.

Over half of respondents indicating they are spending at least $30,000 extra to buy a Model 3, which is currently available in three variants (Standard Range Plus, Long Range and Performance), with a minimum retail price for the cheapest SR+ model of $66,000 before on-road costs.

tesla stretch poll
Source: Tesla Motors Club

“The Tesla stretch: is it over hyped? How significant is it? Using full purchase price including on road costs, how much difference are you paying compared to the new replacement cost of your current car?” asks group member Robin Dean who posted a similar poll on Facebook.

With 115 group members responding to the poll, 82 of those as of Wednesday morning indicated they are making a $30,000+ “Tesla Stretch” to get their hands on a Model 3 – that is, 71%.

Source: Tesla Model 3 in Australia/Facebook
Source: Tesla Model 3 in Australia/Facebook

These are interesting times – while not strictly speaking using any sort of official statistics methodology, the results of both polls are another indication of an inexorable shift towards electric mobility that is already happening overseas and is about to take Australia by storm despite ludicrous calls of “weekends ruined” by certain conservative types.

There are currently only a handful of electric vehicles available in Australia and registered EVs accounting for less than 1% of our national fleet, but the arrival of the Model 3 (customer models of which could be arriving in Australia as soon as tomorrow) has the potential to create the tipping point needed for EV uptake to finally become a real phenomenon here.

In the US, the Model 3 is the main driver of electric vehicle sales, prompting EV sales database EV-Volumes to comment that the Model 3’s “qualities are in a class of its own”.

On a global scale, sales of the Model 3 have also outstripped the only other EV to be sold in such numbers, the Nissan Leaf, by at least 100,000 units despite being available for a fraction of the time of the Leaf, which was first released in 2010.

If the Tesla Stretch is a phenomenon that is maintained past the Model 3s initial sales boom, we could see a similar effect on the local auto market, signalling the shift to EVs is well and truly here.

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