Canberra’s very own Tesla showroom is officially open for business.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr cut the ribbon on Friday (11 February) at the brand-new store on Bunda Street, paving the way for members of the public to wander into a physical store, have all their questions answered in-person, and go for test drives.
“I visited Tesla in Sydney last year and strongly encouraged them to set up a showroom presence here in the ACT,” Mr Barr said.
“It’s fantastic to see that they’ve realised the opportunity that is the ACT market, and I wish them all the best.”
The store comes as the Tesla Model 3 takes home the honour of best-selling EV in Australia, and by a huge margin.
According to figures released last month from the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC), 15,054 units were sold last year. This was followed by the MG ZS EV at 1388, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV at 592, and the MG HS at 580.
National sales of plug-in electric vehicles more than tripled in the past year, from 6900 in 2020 to 24,078 in 2021. EVs now account for over 2 per cent of the market for new vehicles, up from 0.78 in 2020.
EVC CEO Behyad Jafari said the boost in sales was being driven by positive policy change at a state level and that momentum could now be built upon.
“The penny has now well and truly dropped about how good electric vehicles are,” Mr Jafari said.
“Most people in the car market will now be considering an electric option. The role of government is to help them make the jump.”
Mr Barr described the ACT’s uptake of EV’s as “nation-leading”, and sees the vast array of incentives as one of the reasons for their success here.
New zero-emission vehicles bought in the ACT are exempt from stamp duty and receive two years of free registration. The latter was recently expanded to the used EV market as well.
The ACT Government’s ‘Sustainable Households Scheme’ also offers zero-interest loans of between $2,000 and $15,000 to eligible ACT households to help with the upfront costs of investing in energy-efficient home upgrades, including EV infrastructure.
The cheapest EV currently on sale in Australia is the MG ZS, starting at $42,990.
The Tesla Model 3 represents the brand’s entry-level model and starts at $59,900, with an estimated range of 491 km. Two ‘Dual-Motor’ all-wheel-drive models are also available, the ‘Long Range’ for $73,200 or ‘Performance’ for $84,900.
Kristy is the proud owner of a blue two-wheel-drive Model 3 and attended the official showroom opening. She was the first in her family to make the switch to electric before she happened to take her husband’s car to work on the day of the fateful Canberra hailstorm.
“Now he has a Model 3 too, and we both love them,” she says.
“We often find ourselves driving further than we need to, or going to the shops on the other end of town. It’s very much a case of coming back from a test drive and saying, ‘Take my money!'”
Jeremy bought the Performance model and said that for years, people have had to go to a ‘special place’ to refill their cars.
“People ask me, ‘How long does it take to charge?’ And I say, ‘Two seconds’. I plug it in when I get home, and it’s charging while I’m asleep. You always have a ‘full tank’.”
In a first for the world of car sales, a Tesla can be ordered completely online, but due to their popularity, the estimated delivery window for a Model 3 is 14 to 20 weeks.
Before the new store, Tesla’s only presence in the capital region was the service centre in Beard. EVs require next to no maintenance, so a day at the service centre includes changing tyres, performing checks on battery health, fitting accessories, and repairing bodywork. Cars ordered online would also be delivered here.
The new store will assist with the ordering process, with real salespeople on the ground to answer any queries directly rather than going through the website alone. Prospective buyers will also come here for test drives.
The Tesla Canberra store on 114 Bunda Street is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.