The very first Tesla has arrived on South African shores, but not in the way many would have expected from the smash-hit electric vehicle marque headed by South African-born Elon Musk.
Posted by the Zero2Turbo Instagram page being offloaded at a harbour, the white range-topping Model X Performance, which produces 580kW/1 140Nm and can accelerate from 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.7 seconds in Ludicrous mode while offering a claimed range of 549 km, merely ranks as a marketing exercise by renewable energy firm Rubicon, in conjunction with the California-based marque to promote its Powerwall supercharger.
Likely to attract a fair amount of attention, the falcon wing rear door opening Model X will be moving between major cities over the coming months in order to signal Rubicon’s entry into the gradually growing local market electric vehicle spectrum.
“The Tesla Model X is a marvel of engineering and technology. We hope to raise awareness of electric mobility in South Africa and what better way to achieve this than with the world leader in electric vehicles, Tesla,” Rubicon director Greg Blandford said in a statement.
The fifth best-selling SUV in its class in North America with sales of 19 423 units last year, the Model X Performance retails from $99 990 (R1 500 000) without options and has remained a sales hit despite not only its price tag, but also numerous reports of less than premium build quality and a series of defects since its debut four years ago.
In spite of several claims and Musk himself alluding to a possible introduction in 2019, the Model X, like Tesla itself, won’t be coming to South Africa as a complete entity just yet.