Tesla Inc. Chair Robyn Denholm, an Australian, said this week she “wouldn’t be surprised” if the number of Teslas on local roads doubled by the end of the year.

    Ms Denholm reportedly told the Clean Energy Summit in Sydney this week that “we now have more than 26,500 Teslas on Australian roads, and the momentum is there”.

    “I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we double that number by the end of the year,” Ms Denholm claimed.

    According to Reuters, Ms Denholm also urged the new government to enforce emissions targets (echoing the wider local industry), upgrade the power grid, and get better at refining high value battery materials.

    Tesla sources much of its lithium and nickel from Australia.

    Ms Denholm’s bold sales target statement came shortly before Tesla released its latest financial and production results for quarter-two.

    In its slide deck the company said it was “focused on a record-breaking second half of 2022” in terms of vehicle production.

    Tesla is far and away Australia’s dominant EV brand, accounting for almost half the total market with 4653 sales year-to-date (out of 9680 EVs total, representing about 1.8 per cent of the whole new car market).

    Regardless, doubling its existing fleet by year’s end would be remarkable – to do this, it would need to sell more than 30,000 vehicles this year (26,500 or so in H2, plus the 4653 in H1).

    For context, Tesla sold a tick over 12,000 cars in 2021.

    That being said, Tesla’s Australian division is not battling for demand, rather it’s fighting for supply from the Shanghai factory that makes local market Model 3s and Model Ys.

    The Model 3 is well established, and just about every one delivered here has a buyer waiting.

    MORE: Australia’s best-selling EVs in the first half of 2022

    Meanwhile the Model Y crossover opened for order on June 10 with projected delivery times between August and November this year.

    Just four days later and the wait times had stretched out to as late as May 2023. This remains the current delivery target.

    “We’re working on accelerating RHD [right-hand drive] Model Y production. Didn’t expect demand to be so high!” said Elon Musk on Twitter at the time.

    Shanghai has the highest claimed installed annual capacity of any Tesla plant right now, said to be capable of making north of 750,000 cars a year – compared to 650,000 in California and about 250,000 each for Berlin and Texas.

    Shanghai’s COVID shutdowns, and plant upgrades, both curtailed output over the quarter, but Tesla claims it’s now well-placed for a spike across the remainder of the year, with the China plant achieving its higher-ever production month in June.

    “While the Shanghai factory was shut down fully and then partially for the majority of Q2, we ended the quarter with a record monthly production level.

    “Recent equipment upgrades will enable us to continue to increase our production rate further,” the company said.

    So, Tesla orderers: keep an eye on those delivery times!

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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