Electric car maker Tesla is expected to adjust pricing for its Model 3, Model S and Model X within days following the significant fall in value of the Australian dollar amid the Coronavirus crisis.
Sources who declined to be identified told The Driven that the price rise could be implemented by Friday, and that staff have been directed to seize the opportunity and push through sales before the weekend.
The price rise for the top selling Model 3 and the other models could add up to a few thousand dollars. The current price for the Standard Range Plus Model 3 starts at around $68,000 before on-road costs that differ from state to state, while the Model S is priced at around $125,000 and the Model X at around $134,000.
The Australian dollar has taken a beating in recent months, slipping from 70 cents against the American dollar in late December to less than 61.5 cents on Wednesday.
The last significant price hike by Tesla in Australia came just weeks after the Model 3, Tesla’s answer to the “affordable” electric car, was finally released on the Australian market in last September.
The base pricing of $66,000 (excluding on roads) for the Model 3 SR+ was raised to $67,600, and another $300 has been added to the price since then.
A spokesperson for Tesla confirmed with The Driven regarding past price changes that like other car companies, Tesla pricing is periodically adjusted to account for currency fluctuations, but declined to comment on the coming price hike.
Pricing for the Tesla Model 3 in Australia has copped some criticism in the past, because while its base pricing in the US – currently $US35,690 – is considered more affordable than usually high priced electric cars – this is not the case in Australia, where GST, delivery charges, stamp duty and in some cases luxury car taxes are added.
The disparity was brought to the attention of Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk in February via social media forum Twitter, and Musk replied at the time, “This does seem high.”
The truth of the matter is that the falling value of the Australian dollar is an inescapable factor in pricing commodities imported from overseas, particularly because of the lack of a local car manufacturing industry, which the Luxury Car Tax was introduced to protect.
Pricing for the upcoming Model Y in Australia will also likely be pushed high because of this. With only a Long Range and Performance option currently available, previous estimates put a starting price at $102,000 for the Long Range variant.
That figure, using Tesla owner Alexei Watson’s pricing estimator, has now been pushed up to $112,000.
A similar estimator created by Watson for the Model 3 suggests pricing for the electric sedan may be pushed up to $80,000, although The Driven understands that Tesla will be unlikely to increase the Model 3 pricing by more than a few thousand dollars.
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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.