18 May 2023

Tesla pulls two models, so what happens if you've already ordered one?

| James Coleman
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Tesla Canberra

The Tesla Canberra store on Bunda Street. Photo: James Coleman.

Put all the names of the Tesla models together and you know what it spells? S3XY.

Founder Elon Musk did want ‘E’ for his best-selling Tesla Model 3 sedan, but it turned out Ford already owned the copyright for ‘Model E’.

Either way, the cheeky acronym is not the case anymore for Australian buyers. The American-based EV company – and Canberra favourite – has pulled its two larger models from the local line-up.

In emails to customers shared on the Tesla Owners Australia group on Facebook, Tesla confirmed rumours its facelifted Model S sedan and Model X SUV won’t be coming down under.

READ ALSO Meet the tiny French hatchback that made it to the top of the Cape and became a star

“Due to recent changes to the vehicle program, [Model X and Model S] will not be available in right-hand drive,” the email reads.

“Unfortunately, this means your order is unable to be fulfilled and will be cancelled. You will receive a full refund for any payments made.

“We understand that this may be disappointing news to receive and want to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Last year, the Model 3 was the sixth best-selling car in the ACT with 426 sales. And despite only joining the range in September, the Model Y SUV was in tenth place with 299 sales.

So far in 2023, the Model 3 has already racked up 481 sales and the Model Y 266 sales.

Tesla Model S

A Tesla Model S plugged in for charging at South.Point Tuggeranong. Photo: South.Point Tuggeranong.

The last Model S and Model X vehicles were delivered locally at the end of 2020.

A facelift for both was announced the following year and included a new tri-motor ‘Plaid’ performance flagship – boasting a 0-100 km/h time of less than 2.1 seconds – as well as an overhauled interior with a landscape-oriented touchscreen and a Knight-Rider-esque steering ‘yoke’.

In early 2022, prices for the two models mysteriously vanished from the Australian website, and then the option to reserve one followed suit earlier this year.

Tesla has not confirmed why the S and X will only live on in left-hand-drive countries, but it’s understood to be due to the lack of a symmetrical bulkhead, which means significantly more engineering is required for conversion to right-hand drive.

READ ALSO EV launches at National Arboretum because ‘what better place than Canberra?’

Buyers who pre-ordered either model have now been advised they’ll receive a refund of their circa-$400 deposit and a $3000 credit towards the smaller Model 3 or Model Y. This credit will only be valid for orders placed before 31 October 2023.

In other EV news, Ford opened local order books on 10 May for Tesla’s archnemesis – the Mustang Mach-E.

This all-electric SUV draws design inspiration from the sports coupe of the same name and will directly compete with the Tesla Model Y when it arrives in showrooms between October and December this year.

Prices start at $79,990 for the base Select model, while the top-of-the-range, high-performance GT model will be Ford’s most expensive passenger car ever, starting at $108,990. It’s also the quickest, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds. Range is estimated at 600 km.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Ford Mustang Mach-E, in top-spec GT form. Photo: Ford Australia.

The Gerald Slaven Ford dealership in Belconnen says demand has been “a little underwhelming” so far, but it is expected to pick up when the demonstrator models arrive.

“We’ve taken about 20 pre-orders so far,” sales consultant Allan Wilson says.

“I think people are erring on the side of caution, but once we’ve got a car here for people to physically look at and touch, that’s when the orders will start flowing in.”

Toyota and Subaru will also welcome their all-new joint effort later this year, another all-electric SUV model called the Subaru Solterra or Toyota BZ4X. Registrations of interest for the Solterra are open on the Subaru Canberra website.

That’s just as well because Canberra’s appetite for EVs is more insatiable than ever. Recent government data shows they account for one in five new cars registered in 2023, with no sign of slowing down.

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TruthinMedia1:38 pm 20 May 23

They should pull the whole lot! How these vehicles passed Australian Design Regulations is beyond me. One central screen that is the only source of information (e.g speed) and control (everything!) means that the driver’s attention is constantly diverted from the road ahead. This is not safe and safety is what the ADRs are for; shameful.

PC__LoadLetter4:39 pm 20 May 23

If this was a serious problem, with tens of thousands of these cars on the road nationwide and millions worldwide, surely there’d be real world crash statistics to point to by now. Turns out these cars are absurdly safe, despite your objections. Go figure.

Ohh boy, and I thought the dinasours were extinct 1000’s of years ago,
You obviously know very little about Tesla and how they work.
My suggestion is that you undertake some reasearch.
I can operate near everything, from two buttons and two stalks on the steering wheel (or with a verbal command).

The Toyota BZ4X failed dismally overseas with underwhelming range, not to mention the wheels falling off, literally

Bob the impala1:00 pm 20 May 23

Noted, thanks. I won’t buy one of those. Ugly anyway.

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