South Africa to get its first Tesla, but you can’t buy it
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa is set to get its first Tesla electric car in the coming week, but there is still no word on when or whether the cars will officially go on sale in the country.
A company called Rubicon Energy & Automation, which sells Tesla powerwalls in the country, announced on its website this week that it will be bringing a Tesla Model X to South Africa.
“In a big step forward for raising the profile of renewable energy in South Africa, Rubicon is bringing the first Tesla Model X Performance Edition all-electric SUV into the country next week,” Rubicon said on its website.
In an interview with MyBroadband, Rubicon director Greg Blandford said that the company would use the vehicle for marketing initiatives for the Tesla Powerwall, and this would see it travelling between the country’s major cities.
“The arrival of our Model X gives South Africans the opportunity to see up close what an electric future looks like, and to experience high-performance electric vehicles and the technology showcased within the Tesla Model X for the first time,” Blandford told MyBroadband.
However, this does not mean that Tesla vehicles will actually go on sale any time soon.
South African born Elon Musk has been playing with the emotions of local Tesla fans for years now, with the company initially hinting back in 2016 that the Model 3 sedan was headed for South Africa. When asked about the car’s availability in 2018, Musk Tweeted that it would “probably” happen by late 2019, and when later asked why that didn’t happen he responded like this: “Would love to, but import duties are extremely high, even for electric vehicles.”
Interestingly, one of Rubicon’s aims is to lobby the government to create a friendlier environment for electric cars in South Africa.
The Tesla Model X that’s being imported to South Africa is a twin-motor Performance model, which offers outputs of 585kW and 1140Nm. Zero to 100km/h (in ‘Ludicrous’ mode) comes up in a claimed 2.8 seconds, which makes it faster than a Lamborghini Urus, while the claimed range is 490km, which you obviously won’t achieve is that aforementioned Ludicrous mode is part of your driving plan.