After Tesla Motors opened orders for its iconic Tesla Model S to Australian customers in May, speculation has been mounting about a local launch.
Now, the Palo Alto-based company has finally come good for car fans with confirmation that it will deliver the first vehicles to Australian buyers in Sydney next month, and open its Sydney showroom soon after.
The first delivery to customers will occur at a major launch event in Sydney's Star Casino on December 9, in what Tesla Motors Australia Marketing and Communications Manager Heath Walker has called "a handover event like no other".
The launch is part of a busy couple of months for the Australian division of the company, which has seen the company "hiring at quite a rapid pace" while also building two showroom sites in the northern Sydney suburb of St Leonards, and Richmond in Melbourne.
The St Leonards site has been coming together in recent weeks and months, and is set to open "soon after" the December 9 launch event, though Walker said the company is keen to ensure that the space is appropriately staffed and all the small details are ironed out before opening.
The showroom will feature a Tesla Model S chassis on display and the company's distinctive "skateboard design" frame featuring the Tesla powertrain motor -- an all-electric motor that sits between the rear wheels of the car to provide "instantaneous" acceleration with only one moving part.
After visitors have had a chance to learn about the mechanics and electronics under the hood, they'll then have the opportunity to order their very own Model S at the showroom.
While Tesla founder Elon Musk won't be making it to native shores for the launch, Walker said Tesla Motors was committed to the Australian market, with the promise that "there is a supercharger network coming" -- set to be rolled out in "key cities" around Australia. According to Walker, the network is a "strong pillar" to the Tesla set up in any new region, and will offer free charging to customers, bringing the Tesla EVs from 0 to 50 percent charge in 20 minutes.
Although the first Tesla Motors vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, hit the road in 2008, the company's arrival in Australia has been a long time coming.
Speculation about a local launch started mounting late last year when Musk announced that the company was working on a right-hand-drive Model S vehicle, suitable for roads in England and Ireland, as well as Australia, set to be launched by March 2014.
The Model S was first launched in the US in 2012 and, in May this year, Tesla came through for Australians with sales of the first Model S vehicles for EV enthusiasts in this country.
The Model S is available in four iterations: the 60 (60kWh battery), the 85 (85kWh battery), the 85D (D standing for dual motor model) and the "performance" P85D model (85kWh battery). In Australia, prices for car only start at AU$91,400 for the 60 model, AU$103,400 for the 85 model, AU$109,500 for the 85D, and AU$133,500 for the P85D model -- with additional features such as Smart Air Suspension and premium interiors available as optional extras, plus on-road costs and taxes.
Updated at 2:07 p.m. AEDT to correct pricing and add further details on dual motor models.