Tesla Launches Model X and Model S in UAE
Zero-emission vehicles will soon hit the streets of the UAE as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced on Monday at the World Government Summit that online orders for Tesla Model S and Model X are now accepted and the first e-cars will be delivered in Dubai this summer.
The launch of the UAE’s dedicated online platform is supported by a pop-up store at Dubai Mall and the opening of a service centre near the second interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road in July. Tesla will also open a store and service centre in Abu Dhabi next year.
Prices start from AED 275,000 for Model S (sedan) and AED 344,000 for Model X (SUV). Model S, which can run up to 632 km on a single charge, is designed as an all-electric powertrain and can accelerate from zero to 100 kph in just 2.7 seconds while the seven-seater Model X has a range of 565 km on a single charge and can go fast from zero to 100 kph in 3.1 seconds.
With regards to charging the cars, Tesla has opened two ‘supercharging’ locations at The Last Exit in Jebel Ali and another at Masdar City. By the end of the year, Tesla will open five additional supercharger locations.
At the moment there are 26 existing destination chargers spread across the country, including hotels and shopping malls, and Tesla will also add more than 50 additional destination charging locations by year’s end.
Talking to reporters after giving a talk at the Summit moderated by UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future Mohammad Abdulla Al Gergawi, Musk said: “We expect to invest tens of millions of dollars in the UAE for charging, service and support infrastructures.”
Musk declined to provide exact figures but he added: “By next year, you’ll be able to travel anywhere (using electric cars), adding that charging locations will be also extended in Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Reacting to a question that petrol is relatively cheap in this part of the world, Musk admitted that it is indeed a big challenge for his company to convince people to shift to driving electric cars but he also noted that petrol price has risen in the last two year.
He countered that the cost to fill up a sedan car with petrol is $25 (AED 91.50) but to charge an electric car is just $10 (AED 36.60) with no additional expense for oil change, so the end result will be lower maintenance cost for the owner.
Musk assured the safety of his Tesla cars, saying that they have been tested under extreme weather conditions. “We’ve done hot-weather testing in Death Valley, California, regarded as the hottest place on Earth,” he noted.
Musk said that a Tesla car was made to ascend a steep mountain road in the middle of summer at noon time. “When we did this test we also sent a diesel-powered tow truck, in case of emergency. But it was the tow truck which broke down and the Tesla car was just fine,” Musk added.
Musk said that Tesla’s cell battery can still work even under 67°C heat but he also admitted that humidity, like during summer in the UAE, can reduce the battery performance to as much as 10-15 per cent.