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Bring Tesla to SA? 'Would love to but import duties are extremely high' says Elon Musk

2019-09-03 14:09

Compiled by Janine Van der Post

Image: AFP / Patricia De Melo Moreira

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa, loves to troll online. As far back 2016, he has teased, via twitter, that his electric car company is making its way to SA. Now, he has finally admitted that Tesla models won't arrive locally due to the country's import duties.

READ: DRIVEN - Tesla Model S

In December 2018, Musk posted a tweet about 11 new Tesla dealerships opening in the United States. One of his Twitter followers asked when the Tesla CEO would open a branch in South Africa. Musk replied "probably end of next year". 

In March 2016, the billionaire tweeted that Tesla's smallest and cheapest car, the Model 3, would make its way to SA. Almost three years later we are yet to see a Model 3 on SA roads. 

Now, Musk has finally been open about Tesla ever reaching South Africa when a Twitter user posed the question.

Musk replied: "Would love to, but import duties are extremely high, even for electric vehicles."


South Africa's electric-vehicle charging infrastructure is not as widely available in comparison to other countries and another stumbling block is the high cost of electric vehicles. 

In September, Jaguar, in partnership with electric vehicle charging authority GridCars, set up 82 new public charging stations in the country’s major hubs and along frequently-travelled holiday routes.

The R30-million infrastructure investment according the automaker will make day-to-day travel, as well as longer day trips and even very long journeys possible for owners of electric vehicles. 

Currently only the BMW i3 and Jaguar I-Pace are available on offer as electric vehicles in SA. Nissan SA has revealed that the new Leaf should arrive on our shored by 2020. Musk was born in Pretoria and moved to Canada at the age of 17 to study at Queen's University.

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