Now that we know Tesla is set to start deliveries of the Model Y to customers in the US by the end of March, here in Australia the next questions are: What will the Tesla Model Y be priced at in Australia? When will it arrive? And can Australians afford it?
Tesla is not saying. As with the release of the Model 3 last year, Australian buyers only have the US prices to work with, and big questions remain about the declining value of the $A, shipping costs, and the ongoing lack of any meaninful incentives in Australia.
However, thanks to Tesla Model 3 enthusiast Alexei Watson, who in 2019 produced a similar pricing estimator for the Model 3, we can now share with you some ballpark figures for Tesla Model Y pricing in Australia.
Watson’s latest effort outlines the same cost factors as applied to the Model 3, this time applied to the Model Y’s Long Range, and the Performance (which is also available with a free performance upgrade). There is currently no Standard Range, or Standard Range Plus imminently available in the US.
Based on this calculator, the Long Range Model Y (priced from $US52,990 in the US) will cost around $A102,000 in Australia. The Performance (priced from $60,990 in the US) will cost around $A120,000.
You can check the calculator out for yourself here – but note if there are multiple users at one time, it may be slow or non-responsive.
Both the Model 3 and Model Y are intended to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible for the average driver, but can the Model Y succeed in the Australian market at this price?
The Model 3 has proven itself very popular regardless of its circa $A70,000 starting price tag, effectively doubling the fledgling EV fleet in Australia. Drivers have anecdotally paid an average $30,000 more to buy it than they have ever spent on a car before.
Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has said he thinks the Model Y will prove more successful than the Model 3, based on the surging popularity of SUVs over sedans in many markets – and this writer would posit the larger access in the back plus fold down seats makes the Model Y a better value proposition than the Model 3.
But for $A30,000 more?
Considering the Model Y is essentially three-quarters Model 3, and that retooling to make it right-hand drive is relatively simple due to both vehicles’ dash and drivetrain symmetry, that’s a price that hurts.
But when an electric vehicle like the Model Y could attract a $5,000-9,000 Luxury Car Tax (which was introduced to protect a local carmaking industry) on top of $8,000-$10,000 GST, it highlights – again -the policy vacuum for electric vehicles in Australia.
It brings into focus the dire need for fuel emissions regulations in Australia, as well as more financial incentives or other mechanisms to enable Australian drivers to make the switch to cleaner transport.
The federal government has promised an EV strategy in mid-2020, although what that will entail is as yet a mystery. We also look forward to seeing NSW to release its own electric vehicle policy, apparently in coming weeks.
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.