Guide to Tesla in South Africa

Leading the international electric vehicle market and setting a trend for many to follow, Tesla has been pushed to the top of the alternative energy vehicle industry by its South Africa-born CEO, Elon Musk. Tesla manufactures three models internationally, with two new models to be launched in 2019 and 2020. The latest model, the Roadster, is set to become one of the fastest cars in the world with a 0-100 km/h speed of 1.9 seconds, a top  speed of over 400 km/h, and a driving range nearing 1,000 km. Tesla vehicles are not yet available in South Africa, but Musk recently Tweeted that a Tesla dealership was likely to open on our shores towards the end of 2019. The brand will hope to copy Henry Ford's success in making the Model T widely available, aiming to make electric vehicles (EVs) accessible to the masses with the Tesla Model 3.

A Brief History of Tesla

Tesla was founded in 2003 by engineers Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard. The duo were reportedly infuriated by General Motor's recall of their electric vehicle, the EV1, in 2003. In response, the pair set out to get funding to develop a new electric car brand and sparked the interest of Pretoria-born billionaire, Elon Musk, who soon became chairman of Tesla.

Musk oversaw the growth of investment into Tesla, which has included big names like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google, and JPMorgan Chase, the large American multinational investment bank.

Total global sales of Tesla models are currently over 532,000, an amazing feat for such a new company. To put this in perspective, Tesla overtook their largest electric vehicle rival in China (considered to be the biggest EV market in the world), BYD Auto. In 2016, Tesla sold $1 billion worth of cars in China alone!

Back side view of a red and black Tesla Roadster 2.5S.
Front side view of a maroon Tesla Model 3.

Buying a Tesla

If what Musk Tweeted about Tesla opening a dealership in South Africa at the end of 2019 is true, these are the models we can hope to see here, excluding the Roadster and Model Y that are yet to launch:



Model S


Model X


Model 3


Tesla cars are designed and manufactured in the US and China, so importing directly from one of those countries continues to be the only solution for South African Tesla fans for the time being.

Best Selling Tesla Models

Designed to be the entry-level electric car, the Tesla Model 3 is a great achievement in modern engineering. The all-wheel drive electric car offers astonishing performance.

It can drive up to 523 km on a single charge and charges up to 50% of the battery in 30 minutes, making this fully electric car among the first to offer petrol-powered-like range. It also reaches 0-100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds.

Tesla models are equipped with some of the most advanced safety and automated technology in the world. With Tesla's Autopilot mode, which uses 12 ultrasonic sensors to calculate the risks and patterns of cars around the vehicle, owners can experience driverless autonomy.

In the interior, there's a 15-inch touchscreen display where drivers can control everything in the vehicle apart from the steering. Among the many nifty features, there is a dog-friendly mode, a feature that locks the car and controls the climate to ensure dogs inside are safe and comfortable while their owners quickly pop into the shops.

The Model 3 pricing is expected to start from around R500,000 before tax.

Front side view of a grey Tesla Model S.
Back side view of a black Tesla Model S.

Tesla Safety and Insurance

Once Tesla is available in South Africa, simply use our Hippo Insurance Compare tool to find potential Tesla car insurance quotes from many of the leading insurance companies in South Africa within minutes and get a comprehensive service plan quote for your Telsa here.

Visit our car buyers' guide to learn more about other South African vehicle manufacturers.

Insurance for cars in SA

Sources: Tesla, Business Insider, Twitter, Wikipedia

Information provided for informational purposes. Prices quoted correct at the time of publishing this article.