Last month we reported that Tesla was in talks to build a Gigafactory in South Africa according to the Western Cape Executive Council for business opportunities. The news came a month after Tesla hired former GreenCape CEO Evan Rice to lead Tesla Energy’s effort in the country.
Now we learn that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille confirmed that Tesla is opening a new office in the city and that the company should announce its plans for South Africa “soon”.
Speaking to local media, de Lille said (via mybroadband):
“We are very proud that Tesla is setting up an office in Cape Town. Some of their products will be in the country in the next month or two, which will add to the energy solutions we are looking for.”
It doesn’t look like Tesla has any plan to introduce its vehicles in the country in the short-term and the current effort would be focused on the Tesla Energy products, namely the Powerpack and Powerwall.
South Africa is a very interesting market for stationary energy storage due to high electricity costs and an unreliable grid. If Tesla indeed decides to build a battery factory in the country, it would likely only produce cells and battery packs aimed at the energy storage market and not electric cars.
Tesla’s management said that they plan to tackle the whole continent and use South Africa to launch their effort in the region. Interestingly, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was born and raised in South Africa before moving to Canada in his teens.
The mayor also added that Rice will soon make an announcement about Tesla’s plans in South Africa.