Tesla expresses interest in SA

Minister Davies in an electric car manufactured by Telsa Motors, in Washington.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has encouraged Tesla Company to work with his department and the South African government to explore the possibility of setting up the manufacturing of Tesla products in South Africa. The company has expressed the interest of investing in South Africa during a Business Breakfast session in Washington, DC in the United States where Davies was addressing investors. The minister focussed on priorities and interventions for putting South Africa’s economy on a new growth path and on investment and infrastructure opportunities.

Tesla Motors is an automotive and energy storage company that designs, manufactures and sells electric car components and batteries. The founder of the company is the South African born Elon Reeve Musk and a leading entrepreneur. Davies indicated that South Africa’s auto programme already has an additional incentive that applies to the electric vehicles. He further stated that government understands that electric vehicles are where things are going including hybrids and fuel cells.

He also reiterated that government is still on track with the Independent Power Producers Programme (IPP) on renewable energy. He emphasised that the investors are telling him that IPP programme is one of the best power purchasing programmes in the world. He singled out the solar energy and wing energy technologies as the main beneficiaries of the programme. The main challenge of renewables especially wind energy and Photovoltaic solar (PV) has been the storage issue, but Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is providing solutions.

Davies will attend the 15th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. It is an annual forum that takes place on an alternating basis between sub-Saharan Africa and the US.

The theme for this year’s Forum is titled “Maximising U.S.-Africa trade and investment: AGOA and beyond.” The forum will focus on the implementation of AGOA utilisation strategies, as well as, the US-Sub-Saharan Africa trade and investment relationship beyond AGOA.

AGOA is a unilateral US trade preference programme that provides duty-free, quota-free treatment for over 6,400 tariff lines into the US market. President Barrack Obama signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 that contained the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act, which extended AGOA for 10 years until 2025 – including South Africa.