A Tesla car

Can I Buy and use Tesla Electric cars in Nigeria?

If you have been wondering whether it’s possible to use a Tesla car in Nigeria, the answer is “yes”. However, if you’ll like to use such a car in Nigeria, there are some stress you’ll have to go through. There are also some things you ought to be aware of if you are interested in using such a car in Nigeria. In short, the thing is not just about whether you can use a Tesla car in Nigeria, you should also ask yourself if you’re willing to go through all the stress it’ll take to use a Tesla in Nigeria as well as other things that come with using a Tesla in Nigeria. You should furthermore ask yourself if you’re willing to ignore the cons of using a Tesla car in this country.

Before we kick off I will like to ask this question, What is Tesla or Tesla cars? To better understand this topic it’s important to first understand what Tesla is all about and what it represents.

Tesla is a well known American electric vehicle and clean energy company located in Palo Alto, California. Tesla as a company specialized in producing electric cars, home-to-grid battery energy storage, solar products and lots more.

So to help people understand whether using a Tesla car in Nigeria is a good idea for them, I’ll be providing information about the stress you’ll have to go through and things you should note. Also, I’ll discuss things like “why a Tesla may be worth all the stress” and “why you may not want it at all”. Then afterwards, I’ll address some concerns you may have about using such a car in this country. In short, stick with me till the end of this content.

The stresses you may have to go through & Things to note

1. The stress of buying the Tesla car

When you want to buy a Toyota car, or a car from any other top brand, all you probably have to do, is to walk to a car dealer’s store, and make the purchase. However, when it comes to Tesla cars, you won’t find a single Tesla car in the stores of all the car dealers we have in Nigeria. In other words, Tesla cars are not sold in Nigeria.

So if you’ll like to own a Tesla car in Nigeria, one of the things you’ll have to do is to buy the car from places like the US, the UK, and Europe, then import the car to Nigeria. And while buying a car outside Nigeria is quite easy, the shipping aspect can give you some serious headaches.

So if you’ll like to use a Tesla car in Nigeria, then some of the questions you have to ask yourself are — (i) Am I willing to put up with the stress of shipping it to Nigeria?; (ii) Am I willing to spend several hours trying to figure how to ship a car to Nigeria?; and (iii) Do I have the money to import the car?. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, then I guess using a Tesla car in Nigeria is not something you want, even though it’s possible.

As for those who wonder if this is what the current owners of Tesla cars in Nigeria went through, the answer is “yes”. Every Tesla owner you see in Lagos all went through this stress (at least as of November 2020), so there’s no other way out of this.

2. The stress of finding a qualified technician to make repairs

Nigeria is a country very far behind, when it comes to the adoption of electric cars. In fact, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) we have in Nigeria, is so negligible that I won’t be surprised if someone says there are no electric vehicle in Nigeria. And one of the consequences of this is that there are very few people in Nigeria who can make repairs to EVs. In other words, even though Tesla cars hardly break down, when your Tesla car eventually breaks down, who’s going to repair it for you? Have you ever thought about this?

I have heard there are a few competent EV mechanics in Lagos, but I personally don’t know how good they are, so you may have to go through the stress of confirming this claim yourself. And in fact, even if there are truly good mechanics in Lagos, what if you don’t live in Lagos? Or what if your car breaks down outside Lagos, how are you going to handle such a situation? You should further keep in mind that even if you come across a good EV mechanics, chances are that they’ll charge a lot more, compared to how much it’ll cost you to fix an internal combustion engine (ICE) car.

In short, if you don’t have a viable plan as regards how you’ll fix the car, when it breaks down, then you probably shouldn’t consider using a Tesla in Nigeria, even though it’s possible.

3. Finding parts

No matter how good a car is, at some point, something in the car will need replacement. In other words, a time will come when you’ll have to source a new part for your Tesla car. And while this will hardly be a problem for brands like Toyota, Kia, Mercedes, and the likes, this will be a big issue for Tesla cars in Nigeria, since parts of Tesla cars aren’t available anywhere in Nigeria.

I know it’s possible to ship-in whatever Tesla part you need, but can you afford to wait for days (or even months) before the part arrives? If you answer “no” to this question, the once again, getting a Tesla car may be a bad idea, even though it’s possible to use one in Nigeria.

4. Charging 

To get an internal combustion engine (ICE) car moving, all you have to do is fill it up with some petrol, and probably put (or change) engine oil in it. However, when it comes to a Tesla car, to get it moving, you’ll need to charge it. And when I say “charge”, I’m not talking about the way we charge our phones, laptops, etc. To charge a Tesla car, a serious amount of power supply is needed. In other words, if you’ll be getting a Tesla, you’ll have to do the following — (i) get the equipment need to charge the car; and (ii) find a qualified technician who can set up a charging station for the car. These two things are of course not that difficult, but have you thought about how much the set up will cost you? Also, have you thought about what will happen when these power companies refuse to supply power?

Oh, I know some of you may think, “I have a generator!”. But while the car can truly be charged with a generator, you should note that it’s only these powerful generators you can use for such. In other words, if you don’t have a powerful generator, forget about using a gen to charge the car.

What I mean by "a powerful generator"
What I mean by “a powerful generator”

Yes, I also know some of you will mention solar. And truly, a solar setup can be employed as a backup, but do you have the money it’ll cost to set up such a thing?

In short, if you don’t have a lot of money to put up reliable charging system for an EV, then you may want to drop the idea of using a Tesla car in Nigeria, even though it’s possible. Also, if you can’t go through the stress of setting up all the things mentioned above, then you may also want to drop the idea of using a Tesla car in Nigeria

5. You’ll need a lot of things

While the primary function of both ICE cars and EVs is to move people and things from one place to another, there are a lot of meaningful differences between the two car types. In other words, to be able to use a Tesla car excellently, there are a lot of things you’ll have to learn. It doesn’t matter if you know the A — Z of ICE cars, you’ll still have to spend a lot of time learning new things about the Tesla car. And while learning the things required isn’t a big deal, I know some people won’t be okay with such. So if you’re one of those who won’t be willing to learn about your new car, then a Tesla car isn’t probably for you, even though it’s possible to use one in Nigeria.

6. You may be unable to get a used build

While you’ll find a lot of people who use cars, only a small fraction of car owners in Nigeria buy new cars. In other words, when many people talk about getting a car, they’re usually talking about getting a used car. So, if the person reading his content is the kind of person who’s referring to getting a used car, I’m sorry to say that you’ll have a very tough time finding a used Tesla car in good condition. Tesla is a relatively young brand, so we don’t currently have a lot of used cars of the brand. It’ll take at least 2028, for used builds of the car to become available the way used cars of other brands are available.

In short, if you don’t have the money to buy a new Tesla car (which cost about the same as new ICE cars), then you may not be able to use a Tesla car in Nigeria, even though it’s possible.

Why it may be worth the stress

While the first part of this content may sound discouraging and pessimistic, that’s never my intention; it’s just that I have to make you aware of those things. But while using a Tesla car in Nigeria may be very stressful and require a serious amount of money, there are some reasons why using such a car may be worth it for some people. And under this section, I’ll like to discuss those reasons.

1. Cost of operating such a car

“While the upfront cost of owning a Tesla car can be very high” and “while using such a car in Nigeria may be quite stressful”, one reason I think you may still want to consider a Tesla car is the cost of using the car. In typical ICE cars, you’ll have to buy fuel, for your car to move, but when you own a Tesla, you’ll never have to fill the car with any petrol. In other words, you’ll completely eliminate the need to buy petrol. Rather than buying petrol, what you’ll have to pay for is an electricity bill. And the thing is “when you compare the cost of charging the car with electricity” and “the cost of powering an ICE car with petrol”, you’ll see that there’s a great deal of money you’ll save (in the long run), by using an electric car. And for those who have solar setups for their Tesla car, you won’t even have to spend any meaningful amount of money at all.

In short, if you can afford the upfront cost of owning a Tesla, you can save yourself a great deal of money, on a long term perspective. And to give you an idea of how much you can save, if you’re the kind who uses their car to commute long distances daily, imagine how much you can save by never having to buy petrol for 40 years (or even longer); this is not an exaggeration or unrealistic.

2. Cost of repair

Due to the fact that Tesla cars are powered by electricity, there are a lot less mechanical components in it; and as a result of this, rarely do these cars breakdown. In other words, you can be guaranteed that you won’t have to spend a lot of money on such a car every month or every 2 months. 

In short, since frequent repair is something you’re unlikely to face with a Tesla, you can save yourself millions you’ll have had to spend repairing an ICE car, when you look at this from terms of a long term perspective. And believe me when I say “the amount you can save will also be significant”, when you also compare it to the upfront cost of getting and using the Tesla car.

3. Dependability

I think one thing everyone appreciates is being able to walk to their car anytime and have it work. But unfortunately, when it comes to ICE cars, hardly will you find an ICE car that can be excellently dependable (at least if you’re the kind who uses their car frequently). In other words, even though we have some ICE cars which are trying in this aspect, there’s hardly an ICE car you can consider excellent in this aspect. So if being dependable is a thing you appreciate beyond measure, then the upfront cost of owning a Tesla and the stress involved may be worth it for you.

Why you may not want it

While there are reasons why you may want to rethink about the idea of using a Tesla and while there are reasons why you may really want to consider such a car, there are also reasons why you may want to completely bury the idea of using a Tesla in Nigeria. And under this section, I’ll be discussing these things.

1. Very serious damage may mark the end of the car

When an ICE car undergoes serious damage (for instance, if it gets involved in a serious accident), it’s usually possible to be able to restore it to a good working condition. In other words, serious damage to an ICE car may not mark the end of the car. However, when it comes to an EV, serious damage to it can mark the end of it, as the cost of shipping it abroad for proper repair (as well as other costs) may make it unworthy repairing it. In other words, if you think it’s not impossible for your Tesla to get seriously damaged, then you may want to completely bury the idea of using a Tesla in Nigeria.

Maybe in the future, when EVs become popular in Nigeria, this problem may disappear, but right now, it’s a serious thing you should consider.

2. Driving range

When travelling to very far places, with an ICE car, you’ll repeated refuel until you get where you’re going. For instance, if you’re going from Lagos to Kaduna, you’ll have to stop multiple times to refuel, before continuing your journey. In other words, the existence of fuel stations across the country makes it possible for us to travel very long distances.

However, when it comes to electric vehicles, since we don’t currently have charging stations across the country, there is a limit to how far you go with an EV. Although, if you’re within Lagos, it’s still possible to travel far distance, because we have some electric charging stations in the state. But aside Lagos, I don’t know of any other state where you can find an electric charging station.

In short, the unavailability of charging station across the country means that there’s going to be limit to how far you can go from home. So if you’ll need a car to travel very far distances, then you this is probably another reason to completely kill the idea of getting a Tesla.

The concerns you may have

While many readers of this content will be satisfied with all the information I’ve provided, I understand there are some who’ll like me to discuss some things they may be concerned about. I mean things like — (i) if using a Tesla is legal in Nigeria; and (ii) if there won’t be a problem getting a comprehensive insurance for such a car. And for the sake of this kind of people, I’ll quickly discuss these things.

1. Legality

For anyone who wonders if using Tesla is legal in Nigeria, the answer is “yes”. There is no Nigerian law that prevents people from using such a car in this country, so no one will give you any problem for having such a car.

Although some top government officials aren’t big fans of EVs (because they’ll like people to always depend on petrol which gives room for corruption), I strongly doubt they’ll ever implement any law against the use of EVs. So once again, using a Tesla in Nigeria is legal.

2. Insurance

Electric vehicles are significantly different from ICE cars, so some people will worry about whether they’ll be able to get comprehensive insurance for such a car. Well, if you’re one of such people, I’ll say that you have a genuine concern. However, I can tell if you’ll have insurance issues of not. But what I can say is, regardless of what issue may arise, you should find at least one good insurance company in Nigeria which will be willing to offer good comprehensive insurance.

Final words

To conclude this content, I’ll say that, “It’s possible to use a Tesla in Nigeria, but using it is impossible for some people. And even among those who it’s possible for, there are some who it will be a bad idea for.”. So consider everything discussed in this content, then based on that, decide on whether you’ll still like to use a Tesla car in Nigeria or not.

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