The Tesla Model 3 is more than the third best-selling EV in the country and the second best-selling car of any drivetrain type here in the ACT. It was a game-changer. The Tesla Model S made EVs cool, but the Model 3 made them accessible.
In the hopes of keeping a good thing going, the US company has revealed a new version after months of teasers and leaked images.
But already, there are mixed thoughts from Canberra’s many Tesla enthusiasts.
The upgrades start with sharper front lights and a larger rear diffuser, designed to help lower drag and boost the range from 491 km to 513 km for the base model and 602 km to 629 km for the Model 3 Long Range.
Inside, the 15.4-inch main touchscreen clearly wasn’t enough, so they’ve added another 8-inch one for passengers in the rear to control climate and entertainment options.
The boot opening also includes the rear window, just like a hatchback.
Perhaps most controversially, however, the indicator stalk has been replaced by buttons on the steering wheel, while the gear selector stalk – also previously mounted to the steering wheel – has been ditched in favour of a slider on the touchscreen for switching between Drive, Reverse and Park.
In a straw poll of the Canberra Tesla Owners Group on Facebook conducted by Region, this was described as a “retrograde step”.
“Don’t rate the stalk removal, front end doesn’t look as good, interior upgrades look decent, more efficiency is good,” one commenter wrote.
“Overall, I have no buyer’s remorse for buying a Model 3 RWD a few months ago.”
Another said: “The fact the boot actually has an opening larger than an envelope makes me think the thing is finally worth considering”, while others had placed their order for the new model “today”.
Prices are up by $4500 for the entry-level variant and $1500 for the long-range version, so driveaway pricing in the ACT will start at $61,900 when it arrives in the first quarter of next year.
According to the latest national sales data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Model 3 was the third best-selling EV for July. It racked up 604 sales, bested by the Tesla Model Y (3320 sales) and BYD Atto 3 (1005).
Closer to home, Tesla is second only to Toyota for total sales in the ACT so far this year. The Model Y has scored 753 sales, followed by the Model 3 with 622.
Kingston resident Stephen Ning bought his Model 3 in June 2021, motivated by the performance, sustainability and the fact he “hated petrol stations”.
“It was the perfect size and mix of what I wanted and needed,” he says.
Since then, he’s made some playful cosmetic modifications, such as adding red trim and carbon-fibre wrap to parts of the body. But there is at least one other, more serious change, he’s glad to see made it to the updated model.
“A hatch rather than a boot would be good,” he says.
He also names the removal of the indicator and drive stalks from the steering wheel as, in fact, safer.
“The drive stalk was dangerous for new drivers. For example, you might be at some lights and put the indicator on but actually change into reverse.”
So, is he upgrading? Not yet.
“There aren’t enough changes in the new one to warrant swapping over.”