Driving a Tesla MS or X in Rwanda

Driving a Tesla MS or X in Rwanda

About a 3 weeks or a month ago I saw a Tesla MS picture on Flickr and just googled it to find out what kind of car it was. Since then I am badly hooked.
I read tons of articles, tons of posts, watched too much YouTube movies on tesla motors, on the cars, on Elon Musk, Space X,… all the stuff that people who get the virus get to do once they are hooked.
Though I know it will never make sense for Tesla Motor to open shop in Rwanda, I clearly know I will drive this car in Rwanda no matter what it will take. I have to.…
I know I will not have access to enough after sales support (apart from over the Internet updates) but this won't stop me to think about it and finally get it.
I am currently driving a fully loaded Ford Explorer 2012 which seems to be on sale only in Canada, USA and Mexico. It cost me double the price it cost an US Customer because of transport and import taxes, but these are things we are used to this end.
Am now just have to work on how I am going to enable myself to buy it in the next year or two and think about how it will get here: it takes 2 to 3 months to get a car from the states to Kigali which is ok for a ICE car but may not be a good idea for an electric car. Will I have to get it air lifted ???

blaz | 24. mars 2013

If you're really serious about importing the Model S, you may want to get in touch with this person on TMC who did a similar thing and read about what he went through:

Karo | 24. mars 2013

Thank you very much for your tip. I just finished reading the whole thread. Very interesting story!
I am giving myself one year to see how things develop for the MS and learn from similar stories as I am certain there will be many more people doing like ckobopoda.

It's good to know though that the car can be resuscitated from a complete shut down, which would allow maritime transport which is way cheaper than air cargo.
The other issue is to know if there is a simcard holder in the car that would allow to use any other simcard or wait for the wifi connectivity to be activated.

Not having warranty is okeyish... as long as one can enjoy the car. It will be anyway insured. But it would be nice to be able to have customer support from Tesla especially for people like me who will be far away from Tesla stores or Tesla after sales services. I hope this will be possible in near future. I was able to have customer support with Ford when I needed to register the car online and get firmware update. If Ford can do it, why not Tesla?

DouglasR | 24. mars 2013

@Karo - even without a local SIM card, once wifi access is enabled, you will be able to connect your car via a mobile hotspot (phone or device). I used such a device in Tanzania, and it was amazing: 3G coverage was much better than in the US, including the national parks.

JZ13 | 24. mars 2013

Good luck Karo! That would be a beautiful car in a beautiful country.

July10Models | 24. mars 2013

there is sim card mounted in the center console computer. The sim card is just beneath the emergency flasher push button.

ir | 24. mars 2013

You should also evaluate the type of electrical service you plan to use to charge with. North American models are designed to use 2-phase 220V AC, while European models are designed for 3-phase AC.

I did some quick research and it sounds like 3-phase electricity is the current standard in Rwanda, with a move to 1-phase AC which is not supported by either Model S version. If this is the case, you may be better off getting the European model than the North American version.

Brian H | 24. mars 2013

" If Ford can do it, why not Tesla?"

I suspect the answer has to do with decades and billions of dollars. Just a guess.

Karo | 25. mars 2013

Thank you everyone. I appreciate your comments.

You are right, I've got 3-phase installed in my house. I guess it shouldn't be a problem. When time come I will see what will be best between importing from the States or from Europe.

@Brian H
I don't have warranty with Ford. I just need a company that can give me support through emails or calls when I need it. I guess it doesn't require billions of dollars to answer an email. Just a corporate decision.

DFibRL8R | 25. mars 2013

Seems like making repairs would be a challenge since there are not likely qualified technicians anywhere near by (?South Africa). Tesla seems to be very picky about requiring only their own people to work on the car so would you have to fly in a mechanic from another country?

Karo | 25. mars 2013

Good point to think about :-(
Anyway, as I gave myself one year to think about it and see how things develop, I hope I will know by then what to do.
Flying a mechanic is not an option. I am sure within couple of months there will be many in my situation who get them. I will see how they sort themselves out.

420weblazeit | 16. august 2014

Karo, could you add me on Skype: MuzzaHukka, I would like to talk about obtaining a Tesla Model S in Rwanda and/or help you with the legal side of things

Pungoteague_Dave | 16. august 2014

I don't think a MS would hold up well in typical Rwanda road conditions. I would certainly not want mine to live there. We spent a couple weeks there last summer while motorcycling Eastern Africa. Without an adventure motorcycle it would have been impossible. A road bike would never survive, and the MS is so low and long that even with the high suspension setting, at least 50% of the country's road would be impassible.

Kigali has better infrastructure than most of the country, and it might be fine for an MS as a city car, but most of the cars we saw there were dirty and fairly trashed. The roads in Rwanda are way better than in the surrounding countries, but I wouldn't do it. The road we took to villages near Volcanos National Park, not far north of Kigali, was impassable for even adventure bikes - required lifted suspension jeeps to get there. Even in Kigali, I put my foot down into a pothole near the genocide memorial and dropped the bike, despite being on a paved road. My wife rolled off the back - in our family this will forever be referred to as the "Kigali Incident." We enjoyed the trip, and the highlight of the entire couple months on the continent was trekking to spend time with a gorilla family in Rwanda, but if living there, would have to opt for as body on frame rugged SUV.

thranx | 16. august 2014

@Pungo; all your points are correct, but that doesn't stop Mercedes, Audi, etc. from selling well in Africa. If I were Karo, though, I'd certainly opt for the model X, for all the obvious reasons.