A record shipment of Tesla EVs has arrived at Port Kembla, sparking a flurry of excitement among e-vehicle enthusiasts who have spent up to a year awaiting delivery amid pent-up demand in Australia for clean cars.
The Italian-flagged carrier Grande Mirafiori has brought 4500 Teslas to Australia, making deliveries in Brisbane, Melbourne and Port Kembla, where 2200 of the cars were offloaded throughout Tuesday and Wednesday.
The shipment is Tesla's 10th to reach Australia's east coast so far this year, according to the online Tesla-tracker, Vedaprime.
"That's the largest shipment to ever come to Australia," Vedaprime told the Mercury.
"As of the end of February, I'm estimating there are almost 49,000 Teslas now in Australia."
The new arrivals are expected to reach NSW delivery centres from next week.
Another 3000 of the cars arrived at Port Kembla in January. Further shipments due in coming days (aboard carriers Turandot and Paganella) will contribute to a record quarter for Tesla arrivals in Australia.
The deliveries will help clear an order backlog stemming back to June/July, when Tesla appeared to be caught off-guard by the level of demand.
There were 19,594 Tesla EVs sold in Australia in 2022, including almost 11,000 Tesla Model 3 and just over 8700 of the much-anticipated mid-size SUV Model Y, which sent demand soaring when it became available in Australia in June last year.
Data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries shows Australians remain unusually wedded to SUVs, which accounted for more than half of the new vehicles sold in Australia in 2022.
An October 2022 report by the council found that EVs accounted for 3.39 per cent of all vehicle sales, a 65 per cent increase on 2021.
But only a small fraction of the hundreds of EV models overseas are available in Australia.
The Electric Vehicles Council attributes this to Australia's lack of mandatory fuel efficiency targets, combined with a lack of national purchase incentives.
Wollongong radiologist and self-confessed Elon Musk "fanboy" Naushad Ahamad is among those whose red model Y performance rolled off the Grande Mirafiori this week.
Dr Agamad, who drives to Sydney for work, initially bought a Tesla in 2018 after a doctor suggested petrol fumes could explain his daughter's childhood asthma.
His wife has also since bought one of the cars and the couple lease out another two under a try-before-you-buy sideline - a type of advocacy for non-polluting cars, he said.
"I've been tracking the (Grande Mirafiori ) ship. We're all super-excited to own the car of our dreams," said Mr Agamad, whose household was spending $175 a week on petrol when he converted to and EV back in 2018.
"We hear people complaining about the price of petrol and we joke, 'what's petrol?'."
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