Confirmed: Updated Tesla Model S, Model X not coming to Australia


After order books were suddenly closed last month, Tesla has confirmed the updated Model S and Model X will not be built in right-hand drive after all – and will not be sold in Australia.

The Tesla Model S and Model X electric vehicles will not return to Australia in updated form, the US electric-car specialist has confirmed – after pre-orders were halted last month.

Tesla advised customers today that “due to recent changes in the vehicle program”, the updated Model S and Model X will “not be available in right-hand drive”.

Buyers who have placed a pre-order on a Model S or Model X since they were unveiled at the start of 2021 will be given a refund of their circa-$400 deposit, and a $3000 credit towards a smaller Model 3 sedan or Model Y SUV, Tesla has advised.

The announcement comes after pre-orders were paused in Australia in April 2023 – and 18 months after prices and delivery times were pulled from the Tesla Australia website in late 2021.

The facelifted electric cars were unveiled for the US in January 2021 – and commenced deliveries in North America shortly afterwards – but right-hand-drive production has not begun in the two years since.

Estimated Australian delivery timing when orders opened was listed as “late 2022” for the Model S and Model X, but this date was pulled later in 2021.

The last Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles delivered in Australia joined local roads at the end of 2020, in pre-facelifted form.

It is unclear why Tesla has elected not to produce the updated Model S and Model X in right-hand drive – or how long ago the decision was made.

Buyers who ordered a vehicle are being offered $3000 towards a new Model 3 or Model Y – but it will only be valid for orders placed before 31 October 2023.

“Due to recent changes to the vehicle program, Model S [and Model X] will not be available in Right Hand Drive. Unfortunately this means your order is unable to be fulfilled and will be cancelled,” Tesla’s notice to customers reads.

“You will receive a full refund for any payments made. We understand that this may be disappointing news to receive and want to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The Model S and Model X will be available in the right-hand-drive UK and Japanese markets – but with the steering wheel on the left-hand side. Unlike Australia, it is legal in these countries to register brand-new left-hand-drive vehicles for road use.

The decision not to offer the updated Tesla Model S and Model X pushes the future of the Tesla Cybertruck ute in Australia further under a cloud.

Pre-orders for the Cybertruck were pulled from the Tesla Australia website in May 2022, about a year before the Model S and Model X pre-orders were pulled.

Tesla is yet to give a formal indication of whether there remain plans to introduce the sharply-styled vehicle to local showrooms.