It has happened. The Model S, Tesla Motors' four-door luxury electric sedan, is finally on sale in Australia. It's been a long time coming — the Model S was released in the US in June 2012, and has made its way to other countries in the two years since. The redesigned right-hand drive car already has plenty of Aussie buyers lining up, but if you were holding off your order waiting for a price to be confirmed, here it is.
A few weeks after being tested for ADR compliance and rubber-stamped by Australia's motoring safety body, Tesla has confirmed a base price and delivery start date for the Model S sedan: the cheapest Model S will cost you $97,245 in the Australian Capital Territory, and deliveries to pre-ordered customers and new purchases will begin from September.
Tesla Model S: Australian Pricing
Model S 60kWh ACT: $97,245 NSW: $101,408 NT: $99,637 QLD: $98,771 SA: $100,656 TAS: $101,100 VIC: $101,806 WA: $103,133
Model S 85kWh ACT: $112,845 NSW: $117,788 NT: $115,705 QLD: $114,683 SA: $116,880 TAS: $117,324 VIC: $118,186 WA: $119,747
Model S 85kWh Performance ACT: $134,295 NSW: $140,310 NT: $137,798 QLD: $136,536 SA: $139,188 TAS: $139,632 VIC: $140,708 WA: $142,591
Prices vary from state to state — the base car that costs $101,408 in New South Wales is slightly more expensive at $103,133 in Western Australia. Buying a high-end Model S and adding optional features, like the P85 Performance Plus model, can almost double the vehicle's price, with a top-spec Model S P85+ nudging $200,602 in Western Australia. The prices are in line with what we reported late last week, and existing pre-order customers are already placing orders this morning.
Australian electric infrastructure for the new cars — a Supercharger network of dedicated high-speed charging stations — is still yet to be constructed, although a large network is almost inevitable if Tesla wants the cars to reach mainstream popularity. An Australian network of Supercharger stations has been confirmed by Tesla CTO JB Straubel, so it's only a matter of time.
Across the east and west coasts of the US, as well a east-to-west corridor across the country's north, 85 dedicated multi-charger points are now operational, and at least double that number are planned. A few Supercharger installations are dotted across Norway and western Europe, too. A Supercharger is able to restore half a Model S's rated 500km range in just half an hour of charging, making it possible to travel long distances in the car where the necessary infrastructure is installed.
Tesla's projected future supercharger map of the United States.
The Tesla Motors Australian design studio website is now live; it takes over from the placeholder Australian section of the US website, which has been taking $6,000 pre-orders from customers for both the Model S and upcoming Model X. There's no hiding from the fact that both cars are expensive, though — the Model S will be competing locally with the BMW 5 and 7 Series, Mercedes S and E Class, and Audi's A6 and A8. The Model X squares off against the Mercedes M and GL Class, BMW X5 and X6, and the hulking Porsche Cayenne and Audi and VW's Q7/Touareg twins.
For the rest of us, there's still hope — Tesla's significantly cheaper, smaller city car, code-named 'BlueStar' and called the Model E by fans, is apparently only a year away before its planned debut at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show. That car should be around 40 per cent cheaper than the cheapest Model S, which means that we might see it hit Australian shores for under $60,000, and possibly (we're using the power of positive thinking here) under $50,000. [Tesla Motors Australia]