The latest must-have item to line up for isn’t a pair of limited-edition sneakers or the new iPhone. It’s the upcoming Tesla Model 3, the mid-sized and more affordable sibling to the popular Model S sedan that launched in Australia in 2014.
Tesla founder Elon Musk will unveil the Model 3 at a special event in the US tomorrow, but hopeful buyers have the opportunity to place a $1500 reservation on a car from today.
That’s good news for early adopters and committed queuers in Australia: thanks to Tesla’s Sydney and Melbourne stores being the brand’s eastern-most locations in the world, local buyers are the first in the world to have that opportunity.
CarAdvice dropped into Tesla’s Melbourne showroom today to meet the people hoping to give a home to a Model 3 of their own.
Most had never lined up for anything that wasn’t a meal or a movie ticket, but, no surprise, there were more than a few experienced Apple store campers among the 40 or so people standing around on a classically chilly Melbourne morning.
Melbourne couple Chandra and Sam (above) locked in their spot at the head of the queue when they arrived at 6pm last night, camping out to be the first through the doors.
“We’ve never even lined up for concert tickets before,” Sam said. “We figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The couple have never driven a Tesla, but they’re expecting the Model 3 to be a significant upgrade on their 2009 Subaru Impreza.
Model S 85 owner Ian - who technically didn't need to join the queue - said the only thing he’d ever lined up for was the AFL grand final. But, as an engineer, he was particularly drawn to the Tesla brand.
“I’ve got an engineering business out in Nunawading and 200 solar panels on the office roof,” Ian said, highlighting the appeal of an electric vehicle.
Walker said that existing Model S owners in Australia will have the first opportunity to place a reservation on a Model 3. “Owners are at the front of the ‘queue’ - these are the people that put faith in the company early on and we reward those that do," he said.
Gesturing toward those gathered outside the Melbourne showroom, Walker said: “These people are next in line, and some have been camping out overnight. One guy in Sydney has been outside for over 48 hours, so the commitment is huge."
Asked if he’s ever lined up for a fancy new gadget himself, Walker said: “I have lined up for a few things in my life, but nothing as significant as an electric car. I’ve lined up for a few Apple products in my time…”
“These people are pretty well-minded in the sense that they want this new technology, but I think they also see the greater good of our mission as well, which is pretty cool.”
“And you’ve got to remember, these guys are lining up for something sight-unseen. They’ve not seen the product and they’re putting down their money, so that shows a lot of faith in the company.”
Rod, another Model S owner (below), lined up for the opportunity to get a family member into a Tesla.
“I’ve already got a Model S and I love that. The fact that there’s a more affordable version coming out … it’s mostly family I’m here for today,” he said.
Securing a slot in the Model 3 order books will cost Australian hopefuls $1500, while fans in America will pay $US1000 ($1300).
Tesla expects to take around 100,000 reservations in the first 24 hours, meaning the fledgling electric car maker will take in more than $130 million in reservations alone.
The company has yet to reveal local pricing for the Model 3, although it has confirmed that pricing in America will begin at around US$35,000 ($46,000).
Tesla will unveil more details about the Model 3 at 2:30PM AEST on April 1. Keep your eye on CarAdvice for more details as they come to hand. If you feel like ordering a Model 3, the order books will open online from 2:30PM on April 1 at the Tesla website.