While Australia’s electric car market remains small with just 14,544 sold this year through the end of August, Tesla has consistently been the statistical and cultural leader in electric vehicle adoption.
Thanks to Tesla’s impressive August sales figures, Australia posted its best month for electric car sales yet. Of the 4,235 EVs sold, 3,397 were from Tesla for an 80.2 percent share of sales for the month.
But a dive into the details reveals that Tesla sold just 240 cars between April and July, indicating that the August figure is a recovery from expected deliveries. In reality, so far this year, Tesla’s share of electric vehicle sales stands at 55.3 percent, averaging around 1,000 sales per month. This reflects the nature of Tesla’s deliveries, which tend to appear in batches to meet demand.
It’s still more than the combined EV sales of any other brand and then some, but the relatively premium brand is about to come under attack from the likes of the MG ZS EV and BYD Atto 3, both of which can be had in any version for less than $50,000.
While its sales have yet to kick off (for the BYD) or pick up as deliveries roll in (for the new MG), its aggressively competitive pricing looks poised to do some heavy lifting to win over buyers.
The updated MG ZS EV now starts from $44,990 after a surprise price drop, making it the cheapest electric vehicle on sale in Australia, beating the BYD Atto 3’s $44,381 before on-road costs.
For those interested in Tesla, the cheapest Model 3 starts at $65,500 before rear-wheel drive highway costs.
Between Tesla’s cheaper Model 3 and new threats from BYD and MG, the likes of the $50,990 Nissan Leaf and its $61,490 e+ sibling, four variants of Hyundai’s Kona EV ranging from $54,500 to $64,000, and even the Polestar 2 Standard Range (at $63,900) Stalk.
While these models don’t necessarily have the badge prestige (or just the hype, depending on your opinion) associated with Tesla, affordability is an incredibly strong draw for car buyers, and $20,000 makes a big difference.
Of course, Tesla has another card up its sleeve, the new Model Y which sold 1,017 units here in its first month on sale, 30 percent of Tesla’s August total of 3,397. Starting at $72,300, the Model Y isn’t Tesla’s cheapest, but it fills a need for the brand to be able to compete in the SUV space.
While Tesla remains ahead of the EV game at its price point, cheaper alternatives are on the way for the masses, and traditional premium brands like those in Europe will have to convince Aussies they can provide EV value if they want to. to compete.
More EVs set to appear, like the Cupra Born and Toyota bZ4x, could shake things up in the “quirkier” EV space, but time will tell how long Tesla can maintain its compelling market lead.