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Tesla Model S expected to cost $75K in Oz

Green with envy: Sleek looks, 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds and a battery range of 483 kilometres have compelled 10,000 people to put money down for a Tesla Model S globally.

Sold-out Down Under for six months, Tesla’s Model S to cost less here than expected

28 Jun 2012

TESLA’S all-electric Model S luxury sports sedan is already sold out for six months in Australia – around 12 months ahead of its local arrival in the middle of next year.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed but Tesla’s Australian manager, Jay McCormack, told GoAuto the company will “try to deliver Model S in Australia as close to the US base price as we possibly can” at current exchange rates.

Mr McCormack said the entry-level Model S (priced from $US57,400 before government incentives) could end up being priced close to the $75,375 luxury car tax threshold for fuel-efficient cars, a far cry from the $120,000 previously speculated.

“When you finally get Model S shipped over to Australia and add import duty it is close to that luxury car tax threshold and then we move forward from there,” said Mr McCormack.

The least expensive Model S comes with a 40kWh battery, capable of delivering a range of almost 260 kilometres before the need for a recharge and 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds.

55 center imageFrom top: Tesla dealer Tesla Model S.

Upgrading to the mid-range 60kWh battery boosts range to 370km while trimming six-tenths off the time it takes to reach 100km/h, and the top-spec 85kWh battery provides a 483km range and 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds.

Flagship Signature and Performance variants – the first to reach production – come with the 85kWh battery as standard.

Performance variants get an upgraded 310kW/600Nm electric motor (compared with the standard Signature’s 270kW/440Nm unit), putting the Tesla’s 0-100km/h capability almost into supercar territory at 4.4 seconds (only one-tenth slower than the twin-turbo V8-powered BMW M5).

In Australia, the top-spec Model S Signature Performance is expected to sell for around $130,000.

Initial North American deliveries of the Model S took place at an event in California last weekend, and the pioneering Silicon Valley-based EV specialist has a worldwide bank of more than 10,000 reservations.

Mr McCormack said Tesla has a “pretty substantial” number of Model S reservations in Australia, “to the point where we can just still deliver cars (reserved now) by the end of 2013”, implying the car is already sold out for six months.

He said two examples of Tesla’s original model, the Roadster, remain to be sold in Australia, but expects them to be gone within weeks before marketing focus shifts to Model S.

A rolling chassis, battery and drivetrain will be taken on tour around Australia for potential customers to see, before a left-hand-drive example of the production Model S will be shown for “reservation holders to get up close and personal with”.

The last stage before local customer deliveries begin will be the first demonstrator model that will be offered to reservation-holders and the media to drive, beginning early next year.

Globally, Tesla has moved towards a retail strategy that eschews the traditional dealership showroom for stores located in shopping malls and precincts, and this model will apply to Australia.

Mr McCormack spoke to GoAuto from a ‘pop-up’ Tesla store at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, one of four that have been operated in Sydney, with two also having taken place in Melbourne.

Tesla’s Australian base is primarily a vehicle service and company administration centre, but a permanent Sydney store is planned, with more pop-up stores for Australia’s major cities as Tesla expands.

However, Australians are unlikely to see Tesla’s products on display at local motor shows as Mr McCormack said that applying for motor show space is not something the company “typically does off our own bat”.

“It is encouraging that some motor show organisers such as Geneva want a presence with Tesla there and have been very accommodating,” he saidMr McCormack did not consider a presence at this year’s Sydney show or next year’s Melbourne show to be likely unless AIMS organisers invite them.

“At the end of the day our retail strategy and philosophy is interactive, it’s online and it is face-to-face in that sense,” he said.

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