Tesla Motors has unveiled its plans to open reservations for its proposed “mass-market” Model 3 electric vehicle, with reservations to start first in Australia on March 31, courtesy of its position on the time zone.
Tesla said in a statement and blog overnight that Model 3 reservations will begin from 8am local time at stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, “making it the first country in the world to take Model 3 reservations”.
Reservations for the Model S vehicle – expected to cost around $US35,000 – will require a deposit of just $A1,500 – although production of the vehicle is not expected to begin until late 2017, and may not be available until 2018 in Australia.
The registrations at the four store locations listed below will be followed by online registrations which will start when the new model is unveiled at 2.30pm Sydney time on April 1.
The Model 3 will be the third major new model to be unveiled, following the high performance (and high cost – more than $A120,000 in Australia) Model S and its various iterations, and the new Model X, an SUV with falcon wings (both pictured above)
The Model 3 will be far cheaper because of its smaller dimensions and lower range and battery size. But Tesla is still aiming for a range of more than 300kms.
Priority for Model 3 reservations will be given to current Tesla owners. “As a thank you to our current owners, existing customers will get priority in each region, meaning that the fastest way to own a Model 3 is to own a Model S or Model X,” the company says.
Seeking Alpha notes that this could have an impact on demand in the US, where reductions in available tax breaks are reduced once a manufacturer reaches 200,000 unit sales, a position it is expected to reach in 2018.
Those tax breaks are expected for reduce the costs of the Model 3 in the US to as little as $25,000, making it much cheaper than the average petrol car and at a price point that analysts say could “up-end” the US auto market. But if those tax credits are exhausted, then it may crimp its mass market appeal.
In Australia, though, there are no tax breaks, so it’s a little academic for local customers.
Model 3 production is scheduled to begin in late 2017. Tesla says deliveries will begin in north America, starting on the west coast before moving east, and then heading to international customers in Europe and the Asia Pacific.
The centres taking reservations in person on March 31 in Australia:
Melbourne Service Centre and Store – Shop 4 650 Church St, Cremorne 8.00am opening time
Chadestone Store – Chadstone Shopping Centre Melbourne outside of Myer 9.00am opening time