Tesla prices announced – cars coming later

Pay now, and pick up next year – Tesla has begun its NZ sales plan.


THE local market order book for Tesla cars has opened – and it’s not necessarily good news for motorists looking for a cheaper way or a quick electric fix.

Recommended retails provisioned today suggest the Model X, at $145,200 through to $224,500, and the $109,300 to $217,000 Model S have price equality with the private imports that presently sustain Tesla demand and provide reminder that technology that costs cents to run doesn’t come cheap.

It also reinforces that Tesla, despite its value image and perhaps until its Model 3 comes on stream, will site solidly as the most expensive pure electric passenger fare sold in New Zealand, at least until a wave of high-end product out of Europe lands over the next two years.

Delivery timings also remind that Tesla has been under the pump to supply its markets.

The brand’s website suggests anyone ordering a car from today, when the book opened, should not expect to see it until March, 2017. However, subsequent media reports suggest April to June is more likely.

Most private imports – in right-hand-drive at least - have been sourced via Australia and the Tesla New Zealand operation, a subsidiary of the Melbourne-based Australian setup that has been running for more than a year.

However, those early adopters have abdicated one ingredient that many new car buyers would never dream doing without, a warranty.

Presently owners must ship their cars back across the Tasman, at their own expense, to undertake even factory-covered rectifications.

Given the New Zealand operation is being run out of Australia, and there being every likelihood that the countries will share common stock, is there potential the early adopters might now see those warranties transferred?

Walker says has signalled that his office intends to issue a statement soon about this.

In addition to providing pricing, Tesla has also announced it will establish a ‘Destination Charging’ network of car Telsa-favoured recharging points – which the brand calls superchargers.

These will initially restrict to the North Island, though not because of the recent calamitous Kaikoura earthquake which has ruined a key stretch of State Highway One.

Tesla says its determination to supercharge the main truck route between Auckland and Wellington is more a commercial consideration.

“There will be infrastructure on the South Island in the future, however we build out from where the forecast volume in market is,” marketing and communications manager Heath Walker said.

“Destination Charging is being planned for the South Island now and Supercharging will cover the entire country in the future.”

The Model X – which stands out from the crowd by having gullwing rear doors - will be sold in three versions, each of differing power outputs.

The entry 70D has a 75kWh motor and a suggested range of 417km, the mid-family $161,200 90D has a 90kWh mill and has factory cited range of up to 489km between charges. The range-topper is the P100D packs 100kWh and 542kms’ range.

The Model S, meantime, will offer in a base 60kWh format with 408 range and available with four-wheel-drive format as an option to the usual rear-drive layout without any apparent premium. The line then steps up to a 75D for $122,800, a 90D for $145,700 and the flagship, which in addition to claiming as the world’s fastest five-door, with 0-100kmh in 2.7 seconds, also has a 613km range.

Tesla has previously indicated that its status will grow when it begins shipping out its highly-vaunted Model 3 ‘budget’ car. However, Walker is still unable to say when this crucial vehicle will be available locally and for how much.

“First deliveries are set for 2017 in the US and the price is set at $35,000 USD. No other market delivery or pricing has been set.”

On today’s exchange rate, that entry price works out to $49,910. In terms of size and performance, the Model 3 is set to compete with the $74,990 Renault Zoe and BMW i3 battery electric, a $74,300 proposition.

He was also coy in respect to the brand’s volume expectations for its first year here and what model, and derivative thereof, might be expected to lead the way, offering: “We do not provide forecast figures for any market, however the performance models seem to be the most enticing in new markets.”

Asked if he could explain how the New Zealand pricing plan was formulated, and what specific factors came into play, he replied: “Tesla looks to keep price parity across its products in every market. Variable factors include delivery, transport and exchange rate.”

Insofar as potential rivals for the Model X and Model S are concerned, it came down to “any vehicle with an internal combustion engine is seen as a competitor as we try to transition the world to sustainable transport.”

Tesla also plans to make its latest home battery storage unit available in New Zealand, though it gives no launch date for this technology.

The unit, called the Powerwall 2, will allow “home owners to store solar energy during the day, so they can use it during peak hours in the evening or during a power outage.”

“Over 80 percent of New Zealand's electricity is generated by renewables, so, it's a natural progression for Tesla to deliver energy storage solutions to local residents. Powerwall will empower homeowners to store energy during off peak times, support electricity networks and achieve greater grid autonomy,” a company statement issued this morning said.