Tesla in South Africa

I am curious if Tesla has any plans to open a store in South Africa? Elon's birthplace is a beautiful place with a critical mass of high end buyers able to afford a Model S but sadly it is one of the worst run and most dangerous countries on earth... Not a great place to do business and insane import duties for cars... Maybe after the UK version is out? I wonder if Elon ever gets sentimental for the place. Southern Africa (Zuid Afrika, Rhodesia, Namibia and Botswana) has a way of getting in your blood like no other place does, even if you were not born there... Amazing place, wonderful people (98% of them) but bloody dangerous! I was attacked in broad daylight in J'burg last visit. But can still remember the beauty of the Cape and warmth of the common people from every walk of life from setting out along the garden route to the mines at Kitwe...

I am also waiting for Tesla to open in South Africa. Lets hope for the best

"...wonderful people (98% of them)..."

That leaves, according to 2011 stats, over 1M not-so-wonderful people. I don't like those odds.

That 2% or so can really ruin a country if there is no effective rule of law... So sad, first Rhodesia, now South Africa...

Thought of a great billboard for the N1, an image of Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth with a caption "Reach for the stars South Africa"

All I can say is that I am glad I live in the US. If I still lived in SA owning a Tesla might never have been more than a dream. Cars are more than double the cost in SA than in the US because of those ridiculous import duties. Still, there are assembly plants there. For example the Mercedes C class is assembled in SA for the Southern African market.

A Tesla in South Africa could easily top R1,000,000, and that would be the base Model S. The exchange rate almost becomes irrelevant. Fuel is also very expensive (electricity too, but nothing like petroleum.) Perhaps when GenIII comes along there will be a chance.

SA is governed stupidly. Hope the USA doesn't continue heading that way.

@Brian H Agree 100%, SA deserves so much better...

Interesting factoid: 90% of worlwide GDP occurs north of the equator. I learned this when asking a major logstics company why they don't operate in South America, Australia, or Africa. The distances are great and transport costs exorbinate. For many businesses, the numbers make it not worth the hassle.

About 90% of people are north of the equator. Globe is a odd place.

First of all the government of a country should see the value of Sustainable Energy. It starts with a vision, and the strategy will follow.

The question is not if we'll see Tesla in SA, but when. And the answer to that is, when we learn how to translate opportunity into action.

It's said adversity breeds creativity (among many other things). We've had our fair share of the former in SA, but we've also had a good number of South Africans to look up to who've dared to do more than dream: Mandela, Tutu, Charlize Theron, Miriam Makeba, and Iron Man himself (Elon Musk) to name but a few...

Indeed, there are many issues plaguing SA right now but there are a more than enough people here who - like myself - are hungry to make positive things happen. I'm extremely keen to see SA's 1st Tesla shop open up, whenever that'll be (pick me, Elon!) and to see SA become a country that fosters creativity like never before.

So I hope it'll be in the next 10 years or so (I should be able to afford on by then)!

Mighty Africa is such an important (resources), beautiful (nature) and large part of the world. The Chinese understand that very well. The people of this continent deserve so much better. Democracy has to prevail over tyranny. People with a vision of how to make things better (for all the people) have to step forward and show leadership. Education of people is very important. And more and more people are getting an education these days. At least more than say few years ago.

The reason the Southern Hemisphere is thinly populated is that it's so wet. When floating cities get going, that may change. ;)

The Musk family live in SA for one generation. Elon hated it, and left as fast as possible. All the rest followed him, because he was obviously the "genius of the family".

I see no sign in Africa's politics that it has any chance of being more than a human zoo for centuries. What a mess.

It sure is a mess. But it can change for the better. And that would take a few decades, not centuries (I think).

A human zoo? Wow...

Maybe you should not take that too literally. I think that Brian means that when people hurt other people than those people actually are acting like animals. Something like that (I think, but I could be wrong about it).

A big part of the problems in Africa are actually caused by Europeans. You know the era when ignorant leaders here dreamed about conquest and because of superior military techs could do pretty much anything they wanted for technically less developed countries.

There they were, with a map and a ruler:

"you take this one, I'll take this and you can have that"

making borders and dividing continent without any consideration about real cultural or traditional borders and without any concern about what that might do to people that lived there. This same situation is still there centuries after Europeans left the place.

History of mankind tells us that many bad things have happened in the past. And we can easily tell from the history books who is to be blamed for each of those bad things. Instead, we should learn from the mistakes of the past. As long as there are no Time-Machines, we cannot change what has happened in the past. Wait a minute, maybe this is a new idea for Elon Musk? Transportation into the past, and offcourse with the possibility of going back to the future again. That's even more interesting than going to Mars. Maybe he can invent an electric device for time-traveling. We do not need to worry about charging them, because the Superchargers are coming soon.

Leave the past for what it is, we should think about how we can do better in the future. Communication and interaction between people is crucial, because the vast majority of the people should head into the right/good direction. The internet is very useful in this proces, as it has now become the central nerv system of mankind (for information, education, communication and interaction).

Nicely said, Benz. Maybe it'll be a standard feature in Teslas someday.

What you say is true. If it weren't for such forms of communication, I might not have known anything about Tesla.

And to try answer the original question - I really, hope to own and enjoy a Tesla (or 5) in my lifetime so I really hope to see a store open up in SA soon (and to make enough money to afford one, sooner!)

It would be real nice if all the people on this planet (and in the longer future, on Mars as well) could afford to drive in a Tesla EV.

I would love a Tesla here in SA. Who is keen to get a dealership going? Maybe we lobby government for import duty relief on electric cars? Maybe we set-up a plant to build them locally for the left hand drive market?
And remember despite the price hikes our electricity is still cheaper than the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and overall I think we are still in the cheapest 50th percentile world wide.
Regardless its still cheaper by far than using petrol or diesel.
Anyone know when the Nissan Leaf is meant to be launching in SA? I heard this year.

Tesla doesn't do "dealerships", only display stores and service centers, all staffed by employees. That's a problem in many jurisdictions that assume or mandate dealerships.

A service centre in Sandton (rich Johannesburg suburb) could service southern and eastern Africa after right hand drive starts production. There is money to be made in Africa, IF the ZA government gave a break on the ridiculous import tariffs for BEVs (ZA domestic market), helping make the Sandton store work would be special deliveries to countries to the north with lower average incomes but wealthy elites... Saw a lot of brand new BMWs and Land Rovers in Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam and Gaberone. Buyers may need extra care in some of the countries (to clear customs and receive their Model S or Model X in one piece) but the money is there...


Well if you know a well connected ANC MP maybe you could get the tariffs changed for BEVs to the benefit all south Africans. There is not enough of a local market for BEVs to be produced in ZA but I think there is enough market to support a retail presence even for a high end BEV like the Model S or X - if the tariffs were relaxed...

ESKOM has a very dirty and sometimes unreliable grid (saw that the wind nameplate production capacity in the Eastern Cape actually dropped!), but as they add more wind (saw a 100MW project in planning), Tesla's presence will become even more beneficial.

Really, you want a Leaf? Come on, Go Tesla! Do not even bother with that ugly duckling! If you can not afford a Tesla yet buy an Opel Ampera!

Well my hand's to get involved when Tesla comes to SA. Elon started Tesla in the states with all the odds stacked up against him. What's to say it won't work here (touch wood)? ;-)

Actually, he migrated from SA to his mother's native country, Canada, as a teenager to escape SA's lack of opportunity, and get easier access to the US, where there was maximum opportunity -- for brains to succeed. Which he proceeded to prove. And continues to prove.

He sure did, and while in Canada spent 2 years going to Queens university. Where we thrive on history and innovation.

He has been quoted as saying he only chose Queens because of the women. lol It's also where he met his first wife. Hope it hasn't left a bad taste in his mouth. Kingston's still proud to of had you here!

In 1988, Queens won the Canadian version of the world solar challenge in Canada with their solar car, and has always had great programs.

Tesla Model S is the future of personal transport. Come to South Africa and I will buy a Model S immediately.

I find the general "DOOM-Sayer" attitude of this thread towards South Africa extremely disheartening. I am proudly South African and we need electric vehicles, our economy is VERY alive and is thriving.

BMW, Lexus, and Nissan will all be selling EV's in SA in 2014.

My take on the matter is that the South African market is too small for Tesla to target as a growth point. It would be awesome if Elon Musk had a real philanthropic urge to make a difference in his homeland. The spirit of Africa is undeniable, hopefully his heart will listen to its cries. We need good people.

South Africa started out on the wrong foot after end of apartheid. Those who have committed crimes, tortured, killed, burned people alive, never got punished. I have seen horrendous videos on thugs attacking blacks and literally burning them alive. He was interviewed (why wasn't he in jail?) and said they were drunk and were laughing at how much fat a human body contains. They could actually hear the fat burning while the burning person was running and screaming.
Sorry for the too disturbing picture, but those blacks in SA had to watch how those criminals got away unpunished. That MUST have affected their morals. There must be a wish for justice among those who have been harmed and who must feel they have been let down by the Mandela government.

Cruel as it sounds, they should have started out jailing and executing the people who committed these crimes against the black population. They should have put the colonialist government leaders to jail and even execute them for committing crimes against humanity. They were just like Hitler. Only, they did not do the crimes, but condoned and encouraged them.
I am absolutely sure that this built-up resentment must be part of the chaos and disorder, add to it the influence of the influence of the surrounding countries in turmoil.
My point is: You can't have order until you have cleaned up the past. Preaching peace and hiding it doesn't work.
There was a time when I wanted to move to SA. Watching those old videos, I am sure I didn't.

Let's hope that the next governments will do something about cleaning up the mess, instead of just sweeping it under the rug.

Having spent months in Africa, it is quite clear that there is virtually zero infrastructure sufficient to support EV's as primary transportation. My wife and I motorcycled through twelve countries from Kenya and south to Cape of Good Hope for two months this summer. The vast majority of the between-city living areas in these countries have no electricity grid. None. Most of the villages we visited in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Burundi, Zambia, and even South Africa, have generators that are shared between four or five villages. They are turned on (usually near a central town well) for two or three hours per day in order to charge cell phones.

Many of the gas stations had run out of fuel and were closed, and the ones that were open had generators to power the pumps. We often had to buy gasoline illegally on the black market, from scary guys with sketchy looking jugs. No way is any EV remotely practical for use in subsaharan Africa except in the biggest cities like Dar Es Salaam, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, and there only for local use. There is simply no place to charge, nor any basic infrastructure to support installing chargers. Anything the size of our Model S is impractical in the larger cities and would be torn up on the potholes and gravel/mud road stretches that are ubiquitous throughout this part of the world. If you ever experience the traffic in Dar Es Salaam, Kampala, Nairobi, Kigali, or even Johannesburg, you will understand why small SUV's, sccoters, small displacement motorcycles, mini-cars, bicycles and walking dominate transportation for a reason. Cape Town was virtually the only place in Subsaharan Africa that we visited where owning an EV might be reasonable, but it would be impossible to drive very far from the city.

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