Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not forgotten about his birth country and its people. He recently tweeted that the electric car maker will likely open a branch in South Africa end of 2019.
Okay, actually it was a reply to Riccardo Spagni (project lead for blockchain company Monero) who asked the CEO of Tesla (and Space X and The Boring Company) about the odds of a Tesla retailer opening in Mzanzi. “When are one of these opening back home, boet?” Spagni asked, to which Musk replied, “Probably end of next year”. And that, folks, is all we’ve got to go on.
Probably end of next year
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2018
Unfortunately, neither Musk or the Tesla Twitter account have provided any more information about his statement. Nonetheless, it’s exciting to think we might be able to one day buy a Tesla here in SA. Of course, given the anticipated pricing for one of the electric vehicles (EVs) that we know are coming this way, the Jaguar I-Pace, we dread to think what a Tesla will cost in Randelas.
South Africa hasn’t adopted electric vehicles on a large scale yet, and the reason is obvious — we don’t have the infrastructure to keep the cars running. Plus, lately, thanks to Eskom’s ongoing ineptitude, we don’t even always have electricity.
Fortunately, major carmakers have begun investing in EV charging networks — Nissan and BMW have had charging stations for years, albeit not that many of them, and Jag earlier this year announced plans to install 82 charging stations on main roads across South Africa by the end of last month.
The next challenge is going to be getting the prices of EVs down to the point where regular car-buying South Africans — and not just the extremely wealthy and eco-conscious — can afford them.