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How to get Tesla Electric Vehicles in Nigeria: challenges and solutions

4 Mins read

Tesla is one of the world’s most popular Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturer. The company, which has Elon Musk at its topmost decision-making spot, was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning – who are both engineers. Elon Musk later joined the company in 2004, before becoming CEO in 2008.

The name Tesla, has grown to become a household name, and even succeeded in making Nikolai Tesla – who the company was named after – much more popular, and his efforts which resulted in the “alternating current” (AC) we use today, more recognized.

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about Nikolai Tesla, let’s talk about Tesla Vehicles, and how to get them in Nigeria.

Tesla is known for manufacturing electric vehicles, and targeted at reducing carbon emissions while providing luxury and class. Currently, Tesla has six models of its vehicles in the market. The six models are: Model S, Model X, Model 3, Model Y, Tesla Semi, and Cybertruck. The first Tesla model – Tesla Roadster – is no more in production, although, the company plans to make a second generation Roadster.

The most popular Tesla model is the Model Y, and over 700k units of it has been sold worldwide. The luxury SUV costs about $46,000, that’s over ₦40m at the official exchange rate. Speaking of performance, the Model Y (and other Tesla models) can go up to 400km on a full charge, depending in factors like driving style, traffic, and use of systems like air conditioning, etc. It can also go up to 90km in a little over 3 seconds, and has a top speed of about 400km/h.

Imagine doing all these without choking the planet with carbon. 😎

With all the specs of the Tesla Model Y and other Tesla models, it is understandable why a car enthusiast would want to have a Tesla in their garage. That is aside the class that comes with driving an EV, and a Tesla. But, for someone in a country like Nigeria, how would one get such a luxury vehicle?

How to get a Tesla in Nigeria

Tesla is a worldwide EV manufacturer, however, the company does not have physical presence and sales outlet in every country of the world, unlike other notable car brands like Toyota, Ford, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche, and others. Without an official car dealership in Nigeria, then, walking into a store to get a Tesla becomes almost impossible. Car dealers claim they do not have Teslas in stock, as it is tantamount to tying money down. They only get the EV when a customer shows interest in purchasing them.

That being said, you can still get a Tesla in Nigeria. Of course, people that drive Teslas in Nigeria didn’t harvest them on agbado trees, neither did they mould them from Kaduna clay. They got their unit imported, either individually, or through a car dealer with focus on importation from the USA.

Such dealer have the necessary structure and infrastructure to make the purchase, importation, and clearing, which of course, would involve some administrative procedures and lots of paperwork. According to an expert that imported a Tesla model S for a customer, the vehicle cost over $88,000, with port clearance and processing downing an additional ₦20m naira. At today’s official exchange rate, that’s about ₦100m to get a Tesla model S to the streets of Lagos.

Importing individually might cost more, and take longer time. It is not impossible, but it is not advisable.

Now that you’ve bought your Tesla, how about the maintenance?

For everyone buying a car, one important factor to always consider is maintenance, and after-sale services. For an EV owner, it’s not different. Owning a Tesla is fun and classy and all, but where do you fix it if it needs fixing?

Ideally, people look for technicians skilled in the particular product they buy, but for a Tesla, people with such technical know-how are not seen on every corner of Benin, so it’s going to be a little more difficult to get someone to fix your Tesla. There are trained engineers, especially around Lagos Island – where many of the Tesla Owners stay – but, good luck finding one before a hundred Toyota experts.

Read also: What is the difference between the Internet, Extranet, and Intranet?

Buying a new vehicle generally comes with less to worry about, so, you might not need more than some minor maintenance for a while, before the major; hopefully, Nigerian roads and Micra drivers will not force you to spend money earlier than you plan to.

Charging the Tesla might also be a problem, especially due to the current electricity situation of the country. It typically takes about 10 hours to charge a Tesla fully, but how many parts of Nigeria can boast of 10 hours supply of electricity at a stretch? Definitely not my area.

To counter this, you might say anyone that has a hundred milli to spend on a Tesla should be on the list of people that won’t have issues with finding alternative power supply. Well, prejudicially, that would be right: people at that financial level, probably can afford a diesel generator, and some change for fuel. They probably live in estates with some level of power supply.

With the high cost of fuel, Nigerians would have been interested in using EVs, if they aren’t busy trying to survive economic uncertainties. However, some of the issues that would discourage the purchase of EVs would be the state of power supply, and the scarcity of engineers to provide maintenance services.

Are you still considering buying a Tesla? Abeg, buy my own too.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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