Tesla Motors has delivered its first plug-in electric Model S vehicles to customers in Australia, opening what is likely to be a lucrative market for the Palo Alto-based car maker.
At a glitzy ceremony held at the Star Casino in Sydney's Pyrmont district, the company unveiled a collection of its popular Model S sedans, broke the ribbon on its first Sydney retail store, and showed off a 10-station supercharging station designed to help Australians power their new electric vehicles.
The new superchargers, the company said, are capable of restoring half the electric Tesla S's estimated 300-mile range in as little as 20 minutes.
The company said in a statement that, by next year, the supercharger network will connect Sydney with Canberra and Melbourne, and by 2016 will connect "all the major cities along the east coast of Australia."
Tesla stock, meanwhile, dropped in Monday trading, perhaps on concerns that increasingly low global gas prices may discourage prospective buyers from spending the $71,000 base price for an electric Tesla.
The company's stock, which was riding at a high of $286 per share in early September, fell 4% Monday to close at $214.
The stock was down again in early morning trading Tuesday.
Tesla's Model S, already a strong seller in the U.S., is also for sale in Europe, Japan and China. The company's first production vehicle is expected to be joined by a crossover vehicle, the Model X, sometime next year -- although the company says on its website that customers placing deposits for the highly anticipated vehicles now should expect deliveries in 2016.