Tesla’s NZ service centre close but long wait for the Model 3

Tesla’s New Zealand service centre and showroom will open in a couple of months' time.

The company’s nearest press office (in Australia), did not immediately respond to a query about the American' company's new digs but a sales rep at the company’s pop-up store in the old Ponsonby Fire Station told NBR it would be October –  a little later than the “mid-year” time frame put forward in February.

The Tesla service centre and retail store will be on Auckland’s Karangahape Rd, on the block that used to host Telecom’s old headquarters. It will feature PowerPack batteries and solar tiles as well as vehicles.

Tesla founder Elon Musk handed over the first 30 units of the new Model 3 over the weekend in the US.

Billed as the company’s first affordable electric vehicle, it will sell in basic ($US35,000/345km range) and premium ($US44,0000/500km range) versions.

That’s certainly good buying compared to the Tesla Model X SUV on display in Ponsonby, priced from $NZ149,305 right up to $NZ308,465 if you include all of the available add-ons and upgrades, from a larger battery to extend its range from 413km  to 572km, a self-drive option, seven seats and superior acceleration of 0 to 100km in 3.1 seconds (delivery is promised in October).

That’s the good news.

The bad is that production delays, combined with the fact 300,000 people paid a deposit before the Model 3 before it was even launched, mean Kiwis who queue are faced with a long wait, along with everyone else.

A Model 3 today ordered today will arrive in New Zealand in approximately 18 months' time, the rep said (and despite the official manufacturing launch over the weekend, there is still no order option for the Model 3 on Tesla’s Australia-New Zealand website, although you can reserve a place in the queue for $US1500).

By that time, you might also be able to fulfil Transport Minister Simon Bridges' electric vehicle-incentive dream of driving your Telsa in the bus lane — although not if Auckland Transport has anything to do with it. As NBR earlier reported, the agency is bucking the minister's plan.

UPDATE: A Tesla spokeswoman tells NBR: "International Model 3 deliveries will begin in late 2018, contingent upon regulatory approvals, starting with left-hand drive markets, followed by right-hand drive markets in 2019."

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