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Tesla begins selling electric vehicles in Australia and plans charging network

 

Electric Vehicles: Tesla Model S

The four-door Model S is the first Tesla vehicle to go on sale in Australia. Photograph: PR

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Tesla begins selling electric vehicles in Australia and plans charging network” was written by Michael Safi, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 10th December 2014 03.54 UTC

 

Zero-emission, fully electric vehicles from the pioneering US manufacturer Tesla have officially gone on sale in Australia.

The company of the billionaire Paypal founder, Elon Musk, opened its first Australian showroom in north Sydney on Wednesday morning, with plans to open stores in Melbourne next year. The Model S four-door sedan is the first Tesla vehicle available for Australian drivers.

Also unveiled on Wednesday were the company’s first two supercharger stations – one at its Sydney showroom, the other at the Star casino at Darling Harbour – which can half-charge the vehicle in 20 minutes and fill the entire battery in about one hour.

The Model S is not the first fully electric car on the Australian market, and at about $117,000 for a standard model, it is far from the cheapest. The trimmings, including a dual motor that increases the vehicle’s power and range, and an autopilot feature that can autonomously steer and change lanes, inflate the price to more than $200,000.

But Tesla’s Australian spokesman, Heath Walker, said the vehicle’s 500km range and acceleration – zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds – rivals similarly priced high-performance vehicles. “It’s the fastest accelerating four-door sedan ever built,” he said.

Prospective buyers will also need to shell out for the installation of a 40-amp single phase charger to run the vehicle, which in older homes could require an electrical system upgrade costing about $3,000, according to Daryl Budgeon, from the Australian Electric Vehicles Association.

Electric Vehicles: Tesla Model S

The interior visual display unit of the Tesla Model S. Photograph: Antonio Zazueta Olmos/The Guardian

Electric models further down the market, such as the hybrid Holden Volt (which costs about $60,000) or the Nissan Leaf (about $40,000) can be plugged into an average 10-amp household powerpoint. “The Model S is an aspirational vehicle, a lifestyle statement,” Budgeon said.

Tesla plans to unveil a further eight superchargers between Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in 2015, allowing the vehicle to make interstate trips. By 2016 the company hopes to extend the charger network to Brisbane.

The Gigafactory, a lithium ion battery plant the company is building in Nevada, scheduled to begin production in 2017, would shrink the price, Walker said.

The company also plans to eventually launch in Australia the newly announced Model III, which would retail for about $60,000. “That means the removal of the luxury car tax, which starts to make the price point a very appealing proposition for the masses,” Walker said.

 

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