Tesla has always been an attention-grabbing company, but the announcement of the $35,000 USD Model 3 might be their biggest yet. Auto enthusiasts and commentators have been eagerly anticipating the release of the carmakers lowest-priced model, and now that the $49,000 premium model is available for US consumers the hype is greater than ever.
While we shouldn’t count on a flat exchange-rate markup when the base model reaches Australia later this year, we are likely to see a price within close range of Australia’s cheapest EVs — Which naturally begs the question: are we on the verge of an EV price war?
The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. As electric vehicle technology becomes more and more mainstream, price is rapidly becoming the deciding factor for Aussies looking to make the switch from combustion. The Hyundai Ioniq was recently confirmed as Australia’s cheapest EV to-date at just under $50,000, and other carmakers are rapidly following suit with offerings in a similar range.
It’s already started happening in the US. American dealerships are recognising the impact a $35,000 Tesla will have and are rapidly discounting their range of EV offerings. Factor in the reduced running & maintenance costs, and EVs are looking more affordable than ever.
And at $35,000 for all that car, we’re talking about a seriously hard-to-argue prospect for a lot of potential EV buyers.
Under the hood
But true beauty is not skin deep. It doesn’t matter how sexy they made it if Tesla couldn’t deliver the specs to compete in a rapidly-growing market — But they have, and it might be the most exciting part. The base Model 3 can do 0-100 in 5.6 seconds, has over 350 km’s of range, and has the option to be fitted with dual-motor all-wheel drive.
Tesla have made a genuine shift with the Model 3. Eight airbags and a hybrid aluminium/steel frame make for strong safety specs alongside traction control, electronic stability and collision avoidance. Up to five adults can reportedly fit comfortably in the car with their luggage. Many of the features from their dearer models have also transitioned to the Model 3, including voice-activated controls, onboard maps & navigation, and keyless entry.
What’s next for Aus?
As much as we like to theorise and argue amongst ourselves, nobody really knows exactly what’s in store for the Australian EV market. Tech and market trends are pointing to some significant growth in the near future, but we’ll have to wait until the back half of this year to know exactly what impact the Model 3 will have Down Under.
The real question is exactly how high the pricing will be. It’s important to remember that any Model 3s coming to Australia will have to be imported, so costs will necessarily go up for Aussie buyers. There’s also the abysmally-low AUD/USD exchange rate to consider; we just can’t buy as much as we’d like for our cash right now.
In spite of these factors we can be confident of one thing; the Model 3 will be by far the cheapest Tesla we’ve ever seen, and it will inevitably affect the EV market nationwide when it lands.