I drove the Tesla Model S a few weeks ago around Dubai, and I was smitten. It raised plenty of questions from people that I drove around, and I felt like I had to keep repeating myself when explaining even some of the most basic things about the car. There are bound to be plenty of people who have similar questions, especially for those who are potentially looking at buying their own Tesla.
So if you’ve got some burning questions about Tesla before they officially open in July, here’s a handy guide to everything you’ll need to know about owning a Tesla in Dubai.
Does it really not need any fuel?
That’s right – you’ll never need to put a drop of petrol in your Tesla. It has practically zero emissions, and runs 100% off battery power. What’s more, the front space where you’d normally find a car engine is now replaced by a front trunk, so you get extra storage space for your things.
What’s the difference between a Tesla and a Hybrid?
A Tesla is an electric vehicle that will need to be charged up in order to be driven. A Hybrid vehicle, while it can operate on battery power for a short period, primarily still requires regular petrol to operate on the roads.
How much does a Tesla cost?
A Tesla Model S starts from around AED 270,000, while the Model X starts from around AED 330,000. These are base model prices, which will obviously increase as you customize or add more features to your car. Certain banks also offer competitive car loans specifically for electric cars such as the Tesla.
What are insurance rates like?
According to Jonathan Rawling, CFO, of compareit4me, “For the Model S, based on its value and power, we’d estimate that a fully comprehensive insurance policy would cost between AED 8,000 and AED 12,000. Though we’d probably expect it to be towards the higher end of that estimate, given that spare parts are likely to be an issue. Tesla’s showrooms are still under construction in the UAE, meaning that spare parts are in short supply. That will drive the price of repairs up in the event of an accident, and that’ll be reflected in your insurance premium. For the Model X, a fully comprehensive insurance policy would probably cost between AED 10,000 and AED 12,000. However, that number could vary wildly depending on the primary driver’s age, nationality and no-claims record. The spare parts issue would also come into play, too.”
These approximate insurance costs are on par with say a Mercedes E-Class E350 Sedan 3.5L, 2017 model.
What models are available?
At the moment the Model S and Model X will be available, with the Model 3 coming some time in 2018.
What does the Tesla app do?
When you register your Tesla and download the accompanying app, you’ll be able to monitor your car’s charging status from your phone, as well as utilize the ‘Summon’ feature to control your car (as long as it maintains an Internet connection). Again, the availability of these features will be determined post-launch.
When can I buy one?
Tesla is expected to officially open its doors in July this year with their first showroom in Dubai. At launch there will be a number of pre-configured vehicles that customers can look at and book if they are interested in. For customers who want to build their own custom models, they can do so via the Tesla website, with delivery between 12-16 weeks.
How do you charge a Tesla?
There are three main ways to charge a Tesla:
Standard Wall Charger: This comes with any Tesla car, and allows you to plug your car into any standard 3-pin socket and recharge it. This is also the slowest way to recharge your Tesla, and can take up to 22 hours to fully charge your Tesla.
Destination Charger: These chargers are available at places like certain hotels or shopping malls. They charge your Tesla much faster than a Standard Wall Charger, about 100km of distance with a single hour of charge. You can also get a special home version of the Destination Charger installed for your personal use for around AED 2,000.
Supercharger: This is the fastest way to charge your Tesla, with a full charge taking a little under an hour. Superchargers are generally installed at the borders of most cities, and are designed so that on long journeys your Tesla has enough charge to get from one Supercharger to another. A Supercharger can recharge your Tesla in a little under 72 minutes.
How much does it cost to charge? How much would I save in fuel costs?
Charging at home will incur incur any charges to your normal electricity bill as mentioned above. Using a Destination Chargers at malls or hotels is currently completely free. If you want to use Superchargers, each year, owners receive 400 kWh of free Supercharger credit, enough to drive about 1600 km – any charging above this is charged at a nominal fee.
For a single charge at home, you would pay approximate AED 23 for a full charge. Compare that with about AED 160 for a full tank for a Mercedes E-Class E350 Sedan 3.5L, 2017 model for approximately the same range, and you can see how much you can save in a month.
Where can I charge a Tesla in the UAE?
Destination charging stations are available at most shopping malls in Dubai and in Abu Dhabi. There is one Supercharger available in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, and another one at Last Exit at Jebel Ali in Dubai. More destination stations are planned to be opened in the coming months in other Emirates.
How far can I travel on a full charge?
A 100D Model S is quoted as having about 594km of range on a full charge. However, this is purely on paper – this distance is dramatically reduced when you take into account the outside temperature and what speed the air conditioning is on. With an outside temperature of 40C and the air conditioning running at a medium speed, you’ll get about 548km of range on a full charge.
What if I run out of charge when driving?
Just like with a normal car that runs out of petrol, you’ll have to call a service truck and get your car towed. The only difference is that you’ll have to get it towed to a nearby charger, rather than a gas station.
What are service costs like?
At the moment service costs aren’t quite apparent as Tesla is only just launching, but given that there are less moving parts in a Tesla than a standard car engine, we’d expect services to be less frequent and be less expensive. A Tesla’s battery lasts around ten years before needing to be replaced, which in theory would be the only major part that you’d replace.
Does the Autopilot feature work in the UAE?
To some extent, yes. When driving long distances you’ll be able to switch on Autopilot to have the car stay within your lane and maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. It’s a system that is still under testing in the UAE, so there will be some restrictions in place, therefore full autonomous driving will not be possible initially.