Tesla’s much anticipated Model Y electric crossover has cleared a key regulatory milestone, allowing the vehicle to be imported into the country – and meaning that any delays to its roll-out will be due to other factors.
The infrastructure department recently issued the Tesla Model Y with a vehicle type approval under the new Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation, a department spokesperson confirmed to The Driven.
The spokesperson told The Driven this enables “the manufacturer to supply those vehicles to the market in unlimited numbers” and there are no further regulatory requirements.
There remains no confirmed date for local sales, with Tesla representatives reportedly indicating to some customers that it was no longer on track to start deliveries in late 2021, with early or even late 2022 suggested as the new dates. Regulatory delays, strong demand overseas and chip shortages have been cited as factors.
When it does arrive in Australia, the Model Y – together with other electric compact SUVs – are expected to put a rocket under electric vehicle sales in Australia. This is because Australian consumers tend to favour SUVs, which make up more than half of total sales according to the National Transport Commission.
And the Model Y has quickly become popular in overseas markets, and is now outselling the Model 3 in some countries – as predicted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla does not disclose Australian sales figures, but the National Transport Commission estimates the brand makes up around half of all electric vehicle sales nationally based on car registrations.
Pricing models suggest the Model Y Standard Range may go on sale for under $A75,000 (before on-road costs), which won’t be low enough to qualify for rebates in NSW and other states.
According to Tesla’s Hong Kong website, the Standard Range will have 455km driving range (WLTP), acceleration from 0-100km/hr in 5.6 seconds, with 19″ Gemini wheels as standard or an optional 20″ Induction wheels.
The Long Range will have 542km driving range (WLTP), with acceleration to 100lkm/hr in 5 seconds and 20″ Induction wheels as standard. Images shared to the Australian Model 3 & Y Facebook page indicate that the Long Range at the Hong Kong launch is kitted with new Michelin Sport EV tyres.
The Performance Model Y offers up to 528km driving range (WLTP) with accelration to 100km/hr in 3.7 seconds and 21″ Überturbine wheels, performance brakes and lowered suspension as standard.
In August, three Model Ys – a Standard Range, a Long Range and a Performance – arrived in Australia according to Vedaprime (who tracks Tesla ships heading to Australia and New Zealand) with speculation the vehicles could potentially be used for ANCAP testing, or homologation ahead of being added to the Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS), or for staff education.
Petra Stock is a Master of Journalism student who has worked in climate change, renewable energy and transport. She also works part-time in climate change for the Australian Conservation Foundation.