Spied: first Tesla Model 3 spotted in New Zealand
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Just a handful of weeks after they opened their first New Zealand store, the first of Tesla's new Model 3s has been spotted near Queenstown. Though, don't assume that this means right-hand drive models are just around the corner.
The reality here is something much simpler.
And although we didn't witness the Model 3 testing in these conditions, it's safe to assume that that's exactly what this white example is here for given it was photographed on the winding publicly accessible road up to the test facility.
Further driving the point home is the fact that it's a left-hand drive variant — complete with a Californian number plate still attached to the boot-lid.
Though the Model 3 has been crowned by many as one of the most important new cars of our time as the brand's first foray into the mainstream market, it has also been the subject at the center of Tesla's significant production bottlenecks from late last year and early this year.
Thankfully for Tesla, those difficulties have started to turn around. They ticked over the '5000 cars a week' milestone earlier this month; though the achievement came off the back of some desperate measures (including shifting some of that production to tents, and CEO Elon Musk effectively 'moving in' to the factory and staying overnight).
Though for the moment, none of these talks concern cars that are actually coming to New Zealand. Right-hand drive Model 3s are only scheduled to hit production in mid-2019, with the manufacturer focusing for the moment on fulfilling its left-hand drive pre-orders.
And in the same vain, Model 3 pricing for right-hand drive markets is largely unconfirmed, too.
In the case of New Zealand, there's perhaps a silver lining here to the Model 3's Kiwi introduction. The Government have been pushing to increase the country's uptake of electric vehicles through things like the electric vehicles programme. But, it's no real match for some of the financial incentives overseas markets like America have access to.
It might hurt if you're a Tesla nut, but the Model 3 wait could prove extra sweet if stronger incentives are in the pipeline.
In the meantime it's worth keeping your eyes peeled — especially if you live down south.