Durban - South African electric car fans have been waiting patiently to get their hands on the Tesla Model 3, and now at least one lucky buyer is getting that opportunity.
Although South Africa was initially listed among the countries that could make reservations for the Tesla Model 3 when it was first revealed in 2016, the brand has yet to officially offer its cars for sale in South Africa. In fact, after a few hints that this might happen, Elon Musk eventually conceded that SA’s high import duties for EVs were a barrier to entry.
But now one lucky South African will get to live the Tesla dream, with a low-mileage Model 3 dual-motor model having been listed for sale on Cars.co.za recently, as announced on Twitter by Ciro De Siena.
However, you won’t be able to buy the exact vehicle you see here, which is listed as new, with 21km on the clock at a price of R2.2-million. The vehicle was listed by Mystic Cars in Ballito, and after contacting the dealer we were told that the car had already been sold.
However, those seeking a similar vehicle will likely be able to order one in early 2022, as the dealer representative told us they were hoping to open the order book for customers seeking a Tesla from February. The vehicles will be imported privately and at this stage there is still no word on when Tesla will officially enter the South African market.
Those seeking to import a Tesla Model 3 through Mystic Cars can expect a starting price of more than R2 million, depending on the vehicle specification and the exchange rate at the time.
Importing a Tesla into South Africa is prohibitively expensive, thanks to import taxes and duties that will almost double the price of the vehicle. According to MyBroadband, this includes 15% customs vat, 25% customs duties and 30% Ad Valorem. The publication calculated earlier this year that getting a Tesla Model 3 into South Africa would cost a minimum of R1.6 million for a base model, if you did all the paperwork yourself, while a range-topping Model X SUV would set you back by more than R5 million.
You’d need to import from Britain to get a right-hand drive example, and Tesla current offers three versions of the Model 3, with the rear-wheel drive base model starting at £41 990 (approx R880 000) and the twin-motor all-wheel drive models listed at £48 490 (R1.01m) for the Long Range and £59 990 (R1.25m) for the Performance version.
The standard RWD model has a claimed WLTP range of 490km between charges, and can sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds. The Long Range offers a claimed range of 579km and a 4.2 second sprint time, while the Performance model trades a lower range of 547km for a 3.1 second 0-100 sprint.
Although electric cars are currency prohibitively expensive in South Africa, due to the high cost of batteries and the aforementioned import duties, there is hope that they could become more affordable in the coming years.
In May this year, the SA Department of Trade and Industry released a Green Paper on the advancement of new energy vehicles in South Africa, which stated that lower taxes for EVs were under consideration. Analysts also expect batteries to become less expensive in the coming years as improved efficiencies of scale set in.