Tesla Motors has announced the Australian arrival date for its Model X electric SUV, opening pre-orders for delivery in the third quarter of 2016.
The third vehicle to come out of Tesla HQ in Palo Alto, California, after the Model S sedan and the early Roadster sports car, the Model X has a larger sports utility vehicle design, and features unique 'Falcon Wing' rear doors that fold to open upwards.
The Australian rollout of the electric vehicle will follow a launch in the US and other left-hand-drive markets in the coming months, and followsthat Tesla put down to the increased testing needed for the Model X. While company CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that the hold-up "negatively affects the short term," he said the company was ultimately not prepared to "bring a product to market that does not delight customers."
Now, Australians will get a chance to experience the delight that Tesla is angling for with the Model X due to arrive in roughly a year.
Interested consumers can register their interest online by placing a fully-refundable AU$6,000 with Tesla to reserve their place in the Model X queue. When the final price is announced, these customers will then have the option of going through the design process to customise their SUV before paying the final cost, or having their deposit refunded.
While the company has not confirmed the price tag for Australian customers, Tesla Australia marketing and communications manager Heath Walker said the car would "have to compete" with other luxury SUVs such as the Mercedes M Class (which starts from AU$90,000) and the BMW X5 (from $93,000).
According to Walker, the success of these two models and other similar vehicles shows "there is demand in the market for something like the Model X."
Teslain Australia in December 2014, marking the local launch of the sedan with a ritzy event at Sydney's Star Casino. Since then, the company has up the east coast and opened a service centre in Richmond, Melbourne, and a permanent pop-up store in Melbourne's Chadstone Shopping Centre to join its Sydney service centre in St Leonards.
In future Tesla says it could drastically reduce its customer-facing footprint, doing away with the large car dealership format in favour of smaller shopfronts that focus on the company's online design tool whilst still giving customers the chance to touch and feel car materials and buy their very own Tesla Motors merch.