Tesla's Model 3 battery electric vehicle is on target to be the ACT's top-selling new vehicle in 2023, its year-to-date volumes in the territory almost doubling those of the Ford and Toyota light commercial vehicles dominating the sales charts elsewhere in the country.
The ACT's new car sales data released for November revealed Tesla, with just two Chinese-sourced models, finished just five sales behind national market leader Toyota, which offers 20 models.
The breadth of Toyota's model range should allow it to win the race for the top-selling ACT brand this year with 2237 sales racked up over 11 months. However, Tesla remains firmly on target to fill second position with 1765 sales.
Despite Toyota's firm grip on the market nationally, in Canberra its sales have slumped 16 per cent year to date in the ACT compared with 2022, while Tesla was up by 147 per cent.
The two Tesla models have swapped top-selling positions in the territory over the past year with the Model Y - Europe's top-selling car - comfortably winning the November sales race, averaging more than seven new customer deliveries per day.
It is by far the biggest selling battery electric brand in the ACT although rival Chinese battery electric vehicle car maker BYD has grown exponentially in 12 months, with 305 sales this year after selling just one car in the territory in 2022.
The first deliveries to Australian customers of an upgraded Tesla Model 3, which controversially eliminates the traditional indicator wand and replaces it with push-buttons on the steering wheel, are expected late in the first quarter of 2024.
Elsewhere in Australia, the best-selling vehicle this year remains the Toyota Hilux ute, which has led the national market for six years.
However, the Ford Ranger ute is finishing the year strongly and after Ford rented a ship to fast-track its vehicles to Australia from Thailand, the 2023 end of year result is likely to be a close one.
More than 1.1 million new vehicles have been delivered nationally over the past 11 months. Sales increased across all states and territories last month compared with November 2022, and have already surpassed last year's total sales for the year.
In November, national year-to-date sales of battery electric vehicles exceeded 80,000 for the first time, and represented 7.2 per cent of all vehicle sales in Australia. Last year, they accounted for 3.1 per cent of the market.
In the ACT last month, sales of battery electric vehicles accounted for 18.6 per cent of all new vehicles sold.
The ACT government's two-year free registration deal on new or used zero emission vehicles is due to be lifted in June next year.
Owners of battery electric vehicles who enjoyed the two-year free rego deal previously were transitioned to the lowest rego category in May this year, consistent with government policy that the lowest emissions vehicles pay the lowest fees.
Given the rapid take-up of battery electric vehicles in the ACT, the next major conundrum for the government is how to recoup the lost revenue from its battery electric vehicle incentives. Battery electric vehicle road user charging has been firmly shelved for the short-term after a High Court ruling in October invalidated the Victorian government's charge of 2.8c per kilometre.