Global Expansion: Elon Musk officially launches Tesla in the Middle East
Coming off the big news that Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] will be launching in India this summer, Elon Musk officially launched Tesla in the Middle East earlier this week. According to the National*, "Sustainable travel hit the UAE running on Monday, as US electric car maker Tesla opened for business in Dubai with plans to launch a shop and service centre in Abu Dhabi next year." CEO Elon Musk had a whirlwind day introducing the Tesla brand to the Middle East starting at the World Government Summit and finishing with a launch event at the Armani Hotel in Dubai. The launch this week includes, "a pop-up shop in Dubai Mall, a Tesla Ranger support service and a service centre."
Above: Tesla Model S and X in Dubai (Image: CNBC via Tesla)
Local plans include: "Two Supercharger stations [that] have been set up at the Last Exit in Jebel Ali and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, with five more planned before the end of the year. There are also 26 Tesla destination chargers operating across the country, including at hotels and malls, with another 50 to be added before next year. Tesla is planning to double charging sites by the end of the year and extend into Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia."
Above: Tesla Model X in Dubai (Image: Dubai News via Tesla)
Electrek reported that pricing for the Tesla Model S and X is relatively affordable as "the vehicles, which are imported from the US, are priced at 275,000 dirhams (~$75,000 USD) for Model S and 344,000 dirhams (~$94,000 USD) for Model X. Deliveries will start in July." The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority met with Musk during his visit and already signed an agreement to purchase 200 Tesla taxis.
Above: Elon Musk at the Armani Hotel for the Tesla launch party in Dubai and some highlight clips from the event (Youtube: CEO Middle East)
In addition, it's reported that, "Saeed Al Tayer, the managing director and chief executive of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), on Monday discussed future cooperation opportunities with Mr Musk... [to] share information and 'exchange experiences to contribute towards Dubai’s sustainable growth', according to a Dewa statement." This lead to some speculation in the investment community that possible talks could be underway discussing Tesla battery storage (for the grid) with the local government.
Above: Elon Musk at the World Government Summit (Instagram: khaleejtimes)
At the World Government Summit, Electrek reported that Musk spoke about the transition to self-driving vehicles, he explained: "There are about 2 billion cars in the world and the total annual production capacity is about 100 million cars, which makes sense since the average life of a car before being totally scrapped is about 20-25 years. So the point for which we see autonomy appear will not be the point when we see a massive impact on people because it will take a lot of time to make enough autonomous vehicles to disrupt. That disruption will take place for about 20 years.”
Above: Elon Musk at the World Government Summit (Youtube: World Government Summit)
Later that night, at the Armani Hotel in Dubai (see gallery below), Musk took to the stage to introduce Tesla to a crowd of enthusiastic fans and supporters. It's reported that, "the forums and tweets online were buzzing with the news of the company’s arrival in the UAE." Dubai News interviewed Hamza Al Sharaf, a Bahraini car enthusiast who explained, "demand for Tesla in the Middle East, especially the UAE, is high... Trust me, in the Gulf a lot of people are rich and they demand a beautiful looking sedan with an acceleration speed of a McLaren F1 and technology of the future."
*Source: The National