Opinion: Still think the Tesla Cybertruck is coming to Australia? Don’t hold your breath

1 week ago 7
Alex Misoyannis
 Still deliberation  the Tesla Cybertruck is coming to Australia? Don’t clasp  your breath

There haven’t been galore vehicles successful the past 5 years that person divided sentiment similar the Tesla Cybertruck.

When the Cybertruck was unveiled successful the US arsenic a conception three-and-a-half years ago, immoderate manufacture observers initially thought it was a joke. “That can’t beryllium it, right? Surely the existent happening is down that curtain?”

As past has shown, the triangle-shaped conveyance revealed connected signifier – deed with a brace of alloy balls that shattered the high-strength windows alternatively than deflect them – was not a facade. It was, incredibly, the existent deal.



After years of well-documented delays – and a planetary pandemic – Tesla yet looks acceptable to enactment its arguable caller ute into accumulation successful the US successful the adjacent fewer months, though astir customers successful the queue are improbable to get their cars until adjacent year.

Among the questions that person lingered since the covers were lifted: volition it travel to Australia?

Since time one, manufacture experts assumed the Cybertruck would beryllium excessively angular and bluff to conscionable Australian centrifugal conveyance regulations, particularly successful presumption of pedestrian-protection standards.



Tesla CEO Elon Musk said successful 2020 the Cybertruck had been engineered with US regulations successful caput – and that Tesla “made the determination to not marque this a satellite truck”, truthful it “doesn’t comply with [the] EU’s specs and stuff” (many of which use to vehicles approved for merchantability and usage successful Australia).

However, possibly giving ute buyers successful Australia mendacious hope, section customers had for the archetypal two-and-a-half years aft its unveiling been invited to spot a refundable $150 pre-order connected the Tesla Cybertruck connected the company's section website.

Another crushed for optimism: each erstwhile Tesla rider conveyance sold successful the US has been built successful right-hand thrust and exported to Australia.



And Elon Musk aboriginal said the Cybertruck could travel present if it meets Australian conveyance regulations.

So surely determination was astatine slightest a chance it could travel here, right?

Doubts began to look erstwhile Tesla removed the quality to spot a pre-order connected a Cybertruck successful Australia past May (though section consumers could, and inactive can, registry their interest).



Now there's different worrying motion for Tesla Cybetruck fans – and imaginable buyers – successful Australia.

Tesla precocious aborted plans to reintroduce the updated Model S sedan and Model X SUV successful Australia. Those pioneering models volition not beryllium built successful right-hand thrust – and this whitethorn beryllium our biggest hint yet that Tesla nary longer has planetary aspirations for its full scope of vehicles.

Facelifts for the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X were unveiled successful aboriginal 2021 and confirmed for Australia – with pricing and pre-orders announced astatine the time.



Within a twelvemonth of the unveiling, Tesla had pulled transportation dates and prices from its Australian website – and past month, soon earlier the plug was pulled for good, pre-orders for some vehicles were paused, overmuch similar the Cybertruck a twelvemonth earlier.

 Still deliberation  the Tesla Cybertruck is coming to Australia? Don’t clasp  your breath

Two months ago, it would person been antithetic to suggest the updated Model S and Tesla Model X would not yet instrumentality to Australia.

Their predecessors had already been engineered for right-hand drive, the California mill successful which they’re built tin enactment right-hand drive, and request for Tesla’s different vehicles successful Australia is growing.

But if the Model S and Model X volition nary longer beryllium offered locally – astatine slightest successful this procreation – there’s small anticipation the Cybertruck will.

Right-hand-drive vehicles lone relationship for astir 25 per cent of new-car accumulation globally.

Only 9 retired of 54 countries wherever Tesla sells vehicles are right-hand-drive markets – that equates to a ratio of 16 per cent, versus the manufacture mean of 25 to 30 per cent, and according to calculations by Drive, little than 10 per cent of Tesla vehicles sold globally past twelvemonth had their steering instrumentality connected the right.



 Still deliberation  the Tesla Cybertruck is coming to Australia? Don’t clasp  your breath

Those 9 markets are Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. How galore of those countries would truly beryllium funny successful a triangle-shaped, full-size electrical pick-up that’s much than 2 metres wide – and if they are, however galore could they merchantability to marque a right-hand-drive mentation worthy the investment?

The reply to some those questions: astir apt not many. Adding to the uphill conflict for a right-hand-drive Cybertruck is that successful a fig of the countries (including the UK and Japan) listed it is ineligible to buy, registry and thrust left-hand-drive vehicles.

It means Tesla could connection the Cybertruck successful left-hand thrust successful those markets, and neatly debar the disbursal of re-engineering a right-hand-drive version.

That's not an enactment successful Australia, arsenic it’s not ineligible present to bargain and registry a caller left-hand-drive car (that isn’t an import connected the Special Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme register).

This is each earlier you see the concerns surrounding the Cybertruck’s plan – which, with crisp edges and a level nose, doesn’t look peculiarly affable to pedestrians successful the investigating conducted successful Europe and Australia.

A survey of Cybertruck preservation holders connected a Tesla enthusiast forum successful 2020 recovered Australia could beryllium the biggest marketplace for the Cybertruck extracurricular North America. But we inactive accounted for lone 3.2 per cent of responses to the survey ­– versus 1.4 per cent successful the UK and a staggering 76 per cent successful the US alone.



Would that beryllium capable measurement to warrant the right-hand-drive concern for the conveyance – and the caller Texas mill it volition beryllium built in? Probably not.

As Tesla matures and edges person to the mainstream (its Model Y was the best-selling car successful Europe from January to March 2023), the institution needs to commencement making fiscal decisions similar a large car institution does – and that means taking less risks connected aboriginal models.

 Still deliberation  the Tesla Cybertruck is coming to Australia? Don’t clasp  your breath

In axing right-hand-drive versions of the Model S and Model X – aft keeping Australian preservation holders successful limbo for 2 years with fewer updates – Tesla has present showed its manus and acceptable a unsafe precedent that not each its cars volition beryllium sold successful each market.

Tesla fans connected societal media deliberation we volition larn much astir right-hand-drive Cybertruck plans erstwhile the archetypal left-hand-drive vehicles are produced and “torn down” ­­to find if the bulkhead – the sheetmetal dividing the compartment and footwells from the beforehand of the car – has cut-outs successful the close spots for placing the steering instrumentality connected the close side.

Watch this space, and don’t cancel your pre-order yet. But if I were a betting man…

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been penning astir cars since 2017, erstwhile helium started his ain website, Redline. He contributed for Drive successful 2018, earlier joining CarAdvice successful 2019, becoming a regular contributing writer wrong the quality squad successful 2020. Cars person played a cardinal relation passim Alex’s life, from flicking done car magazines astatine a young age, to increasing up astir show vehicles successful a car-loving family.

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