With Tesla’s Model 3 roll-out having now officially begun, the electric carmaker has remained quiet on a potential release date in South Africa.
Tesla opened pre-orders for the Model 3 in March 2016 for South African buyers, but outside of a ‘late 2017’ shipping date and its $35,000 price tag, the company has not provided updated information on a local release timeframe.
Greg Blandford, director of Rubicon – an authorised Tesla energy reseller in South Africa – says that, while neither he nor his company are aligned with Tesla Motors, he believes that they will only start to arrive in South Africa in early 2019.
“Most likely we will see vehicles start to arrive in South Africa in early 2019. I know this as I have personally ordered a Model 3, which, according to the Tesla online portal, will be available from late 2018,” said Blandford.
“The right-hand drive market includes Australia, UK and South Africa. So my expectations are anywhere between January and June 2019. As stated on the internet, all products will be available at launch, not only the Model 3.”
Blandford stressed that these were his personal viewpoints, and are not aligned to Tesla.
More promising is the news that the Powerwall 2 is expected in the country in early 2018, said Blandford.
While there is no specific release date for the unit at this stage, he indicated that Rubicon currently has 100 units on order for South Africa, due to arrive next year.
This will form part of a greater push within the country to better develop a local charging network, he said.
“We are independently working on the electric vehicle charger infrastructure in South Africa with suppliers in Europe. We will slowly help develop the local charging network in South Africa with various stakeholders in which the private sector and government would be involved.
“We are in very early stages in this development but will be ready for a scaled rollout of infrastructure as EV’s become more readily available,” he said.
Citing Wednesday’s announcement by GM that it plans to go all electric, Blandford said that the industry is moving at a rapid pace.
“The implications for the vehicle industry, renewable energy and energy networks is substantial.”
“We are moving faster toward these technologies than most people realise,” he said.
BusinessTech reached out to Tesla but did not receive comment at the time of writing.