Tesla Model S and Model X coming to Dubai this summer
Supercharging locations have opened at The Last Exit and Masdar City, enabling long-distance driving across the GCC states.February 13, 2017
It all started with murmurs of Elon Musk visiting Dubai for the World Government Summit (WGS) and gathered steam when his company website listed a slew of job openings for its Dubai service centre – its first official presence in the UAE.
Today, on the sidelines of the WGS, Musk confirmed that Tesla is now accepting online orders for the Model S and Model X cars, which will be delivered in Dubai this summer. Which means starting today, you can head over to the Tesla online design studio and begin customising your own fully autonomous car.
What's the cost going to be? AED 275,000 for the S and AED 344,000 for the X.
The online launch is supported by a Tesla Ranger service and a pop-up store in Dubai Mall that will "provide an opportunity for customers to experience Tesla and learn about the benefits of Tesla ownership". A service centre is also under construction near Interchange Two of Sheikh Zayed Road and is scheduled to open in July. Abu Dhabi will get a store and service centre next year.
One of the main worries with electric cars has always been battery power, but you don't need to worry about your new Model S or X running out of juice in the middle of the desert. Tesla has already opened two Supercharging locations in the UAE – at The Last Exit in Jebel Ali and Masdar City – with five more set to open before the end of the year, enabling long distance driving to and from the other GCC states. Musk said future Supercharging locations would be on route to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.
With Supercharging, drivers can recharge the car's battery in minutes rather than hours. Musk said that he envisions Tesla owners charging their cars within 20-30 minutes, while they stop for a coffee or food break during a long drive. The UAE is also already home to 26 Destination chargers and Tesla is looking to open an additional 50 by the end of the year.
The Model S was recently named the world's fastest production car, with an acceleration time of 0-100 km/h in just 2.7 seconds, and has a range of 632 km on a single charge. The Model X is all-wheel drive with a range of 565 km, can fit seven people and is no slouch itself, reaching 100 km/h in 3.1 seconds.
They will be fit for the Middle East's hot summers too, with a reduction in battery power of just 10-15 per cent on the hottest days. Speaking to a room of UAE media only, Musk said that the cars had been hot weather tested in California's Death Valley, aka, the hottest place on earth. Ironically, the diesel-powered tow truck that was on stand-by broke down, while the Teslas were fine.
As for a warranty, Musk said there will be two. One for the car's non-powertrain elements will be four years long. The second for the powertrain – which includes the all-important battery – will be eight years with unlimited mileage.
All Tesla vehicles produced since October 2016 have capability for full autonomy, which means the Model S and X will have cameras hidden around the car's exterior, waiting to be turned on once Dubai and the UAE is ready for autonomous driving. Musk said that the safety level of a fully-autonomous car "will be twice that of a person, and will keep improving over time."
Musk was also complimentary of the UAE government's objective to have 25 per cent of the country's energy coming from solar power by the year 2030. He said: "It's exciting what the government is doing here, to create a beacon of solar energy. People will look back on this in the future and say it was a really smart move."