Tesla announces Irish prices ahead of 2017 debut

News comes as hybrids and plug-in hybrids overtaking pure electric cars in sales figures

A Tesla Model S charges at a Supercharger station. The tech car firm has announced Irish prices for the Model S saloon and Model X SUV. It will open a store in Ireland in 2017 and install Superchargers in four sites. Photograph: Sam Mircovich/Reuters

A Tesla Model S charges at a Supercharger station. The tech car firm has announced Irish prices for the Model S saloon and Model X SUV. It will open a store in Ireland in 2017 and install Superchargers in four sites. Photograph: Sam Mircovich/Reuters

 

Tesla, which has confirmed that it will build its first Irish stores and its first Supercharger charging points in Ireland in 2017 has now issued prices for its current model range.

The Model S saloon starts at €81,086, while the new Model X SUV will arrive with prices starting from €110,042 when sales to Irish customers begin in early 2017. For now, Tesla is directing prospective buyers here to its website, where test drives can be booked and arranged.

The California-based company issued a statement saying that its models “come standard with active safety features for all customers, and additional Autopilot capabilities can be enabled to make motorway driving safer and more enjoyable.

“Tesla makes the only cars on the road that continue to get safer, smarter and more capable over time, thanks to free over-the-air software updates which roll out regularly to customers.

“Ireland already has more than 1,200 public electric charging points to enable seamless travel throughout the country. New Tesla owners can qualify for current incentives which include the lowest rate of motor tax, reduced vehicle registration tax and a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grant of up to €5,000.”

Sales falling

Currently, Tesla is not yet listed on the SEAI website as one of the brands or vehicles eligible for either a VRT rebate or electric car purchase grant.

The arrival of the most famous electric car brand in Ireland comes at a time when sales of such cars are actually falling, and being overtaken by their hybrid and plug-in hybrid cousins.

The latest sales figures show that electric car purchases have fallen by 16 per cent so far this year compared with the same period in 2015. That’s a fall from 457 vehicles to 381.

In the same period, hybrid sales have jumped 78 per cent, from 1,392 to 2,489 – a rise which can almost be entirely credited to the arrival this year of the new Toyota Prius.

Diesel plug-in hybrid sales have jumped from just one in 2015 to 12 this year, mostly Audi Q7 e-Trons, leading to a statistically irrelevant 1,100 per cent rise. Petrol plug-in hybrids, led by BMW, Volvo and Mitsubishi have risen from 102 sales in 2015 to 281 this year, a rise of 175 per cent.

615km range

Can Tesla, with its claimed 615km one-charge range for the Model S turn those figures around? Likely not yet – the Model S and Model X are priced to compete with cars such as the Audi A8 and Range Rover Sport, so even if they are enormously successful, sales figures for both will likely only just break the three-figure mark per annum.

Much more significant will be the eventual arrival of the smaller Model 3, which is still in development. It has a projected US price tag of just $35,000 before incentives and tax breaks, with a minimum range of at least 300km.

That could indicate a price of about €35,000-€38,000 here, once VRT and SEAI grants are taken into account, making a Model 3 competitive with the cheapest BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 diesel models and with the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid.

But we wouldn’t advise impatience if you’re hoping for a Model 3. With the first year’s production of that car already sold out, the Tesla website currently, baldly, states that it is not currently taking test drive applications.