South African motorists may have to wait a while for the official launch of Tesla vehicles in the country.
Responding to a tweet on Thursday (29 August), Musk indicated that the country’s high tariffs are currently impacting the launch of the cars in the county.
Musk said that he ‘would love to’ bring Tesla to the country but that ‘import duties are extremely high, even for electric vehicles’.
Would love to, but import duties are extremely high, even for electric vehicles
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 28, 2019
Responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A session, minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel said that the country does not currently subsidise the import or production of electric vehicles, but was working on plans to change this.
Support for the importation and production of motor vehicles, under which electric vehicles would ordinarily fall, is covered under the Automotive Production and Development Program (APDP), he said.
“Under the APDP, light motor vehicles including electric vehicles can be imported into the country with the use of rebate credit certificates earned.
“Such certificates allow the importer to offset import duties, where the importer assembles vehicles locally. This incentivises the development and expansion of vehicle production in South Africa.”
Patel added that fewer than 1, 000 electric vehicles have been imported to date; and no auto manufacturer currently assembles electric or hybrid vehicles in South Africa.
“I am in discussion with the automobile sector in South Africa regarding the production of electric or hybrid vehicles locally.
“We are keen to ensure that South Africa develops production capacity in what is anticipated to be a growing part of the car market. On conclusion of the discussions, a formal statement will be made.”