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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Tesla's new Model 3 for SA: 'Definitely a game changer'

2016-04-13 08:36

COMING TO SA: Tesla unveiled a new, cheaper model of its electric car aimed at the mass market in late March 2016. The new model will only be available in late 2017 and is confirmed for South Africa. Image: AFP / Tesla


Tesla's Model S is equipped with an autopilot capable of autonomous driving. Watch as the technology is put to the test by avoiding a near collision with a truck.

Cape Town - Earlier in April 2016, Wheels24 reported that Tesla's new Model 3 electric vehicle is headed for South Africa.

Tesla, the electric car company started by South-African born tech guru Elon Musk, confirmed that deliveries are expected in 2017.

The new model is expected to have a range of at least 340km when fully charged, about double the range of current rival offerings such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

SA lacks the 'infrastructure'

Jeff Osborne, head of automotive for Gumtree SA, urges South African buyers to be cautious about electric cars: “We simply do not have the infrastructure to support an electric car market - the US has made provision for nearly 13 000 charging stations and, at the moment, we cannot accommodate this type of set-up for power supply."

Osborne says this matters to consumers because, even with the impressive advances that Tesla has made, “you will only get about four hours driving before needing to fully recharge”.

He also highlights the price tag of the new Tesla – the equivalent of R530 000 at current exchange rates – and SA's high electricity costs as serious offsets against any petrol savings that could be made.

Voting booth 

We asked users 'would you purchase an electric car?' and our homepage poll garnered 33 488 votes.

Yes - 40% 13 473 votes
No - 29% 9582 votes
Depends on the range - 31% 10 433 votes

In a follow-up poll we asked: "What are the biggest stumbling blocks for electric cars in SA?"

Price - 2032 votes
Electricity infrastructure - 3906 votes
Availability - 234 votes
None of these should be problems - 537 votes

The majority of users said the biggest issue affecting electric cars in SA is the country's electricity infrastructure (3906 votes) with price (2032) the second major factor followed by availability (234).  

Users respond

We asked Wheels24 users to share their thoughts on Tesla's new Model 3 and whether South Africa can support an electric-car market.  

Eddie King: No not really but we must make a start somewhere to support the green factor.    

Zack Patinios: South Africa might not have the infrastructure for electric cars yet but Tesla 3 has four hours driving range which is plenty for me. I have payed my deposit and can't wait to get my Tesla in a couple of years. It is about time the local infrastructure starts getting ready to support electric cars.

***8159: Yes it is high time, cut down on noise, gas and you will see a lot more game, no noise.

Tinus Oosthuizen: From my understanding, Tesla intends to build SuperCharging stations in every country that they plan on rolling out their models. So that solves the range issue. Most families own more than one car. I realise SA is a big country, so range is very important when considering a fully electric car.

Maybe the best compromise is to buy a hybrid as a second car? 

Do you think we could get government to also provide the same financial incentives currently issued by states like California? R530000 is too high a price for most SA buyers. Tesla will have to work on making the price more affordable (actually Jacob Zuma and his cronies should just stop screwing-up the country, and get the exchange rate back to R8 to the dollar...). 

The electric vehicle revolution is coming. It is only a matter of time. If the Model 3 sells well, I hope Tesla will be able to produce a next model that can sell for $25 000. That will definitely be a game changer. 

Also, I sincerely hope that import tax and local tax doesn't push the price up by another R50 000.

En onthou...Ubuntu mense. Ubuntu.

J Jafter: I do support electric cars, but it must have a minimum range of 1000km. More electric power is needed when climbing hills with four passengers and a full boot of luggage, from Durban to Joburg. 

Jan Botha: Tesla coming to SA can’t happen fast enough!

Andre Druyts: Yes definitely. Already saving up for mine. :)

Jehan Mohd: SA has power shortage problems, needs charghing stations and at the way electricity is bound to increase, you will have a massive electricity bill to pay, and SA cannot cope with the winter load already.

Brian: Yes I would buy one, because of it's advance technology onboard and petrol less input. If Tesla implement power stations all is resolved then. If compare to cars in the same price range I would choose a Tesla 3 anytime. The package is very upmarket and comes with all bells and whistles whereby the same price range cars you still need to add items just to come in same range as the Tesla. 

Samson Mathye: When people are still struggling to pay the installment of the cars costing just R200 000 they can't afford a car for R533 000 before duties and taxes. 

Read more on:    tesla  |  nissan  |  bmw  |  south africa  |  electric cars

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