Problems with Tesla cars in third world countries is something that the Tesla corporation is not probably thinking about.
They’ve done so much work and made so much progress from the electric car all the way to space travel that a matter like this seems pretty trivial.
Nevertheless, this article is written in the hope that one day Tesla inc. will show interest and find a way to successfully sell cars in third world countries.
Despite what anybody may think, most third world countries are developing, some very slowly (like mine) or some at a very rapid pace.
From what I’ve seen, the Tesla car is gaining popularity as well as the electric car concept. It’s going worldwide and is slowly replacing the inner combustion engine.
Third world countries may be a good market for Tesla cars in the future. People that live in these countries value above all durability, longevity, and low car maintenance costs.
That is the epitome of everything a Tesla car and the electric car concept is, at least in my opinion.
I’m not any kind of official authority on this matter; rather I would like to give an opinion from the stance of a car enthusiast and someone who would very much like to own a Tesla car in the future.
One more thing that is fair to say on my part: I don’t own or have ever driven a Tesla car. All my experiences around Tesla cars have been limited to YouTube videos, reading about it on Wikipedia, and seeing a Tesla car in real life for once.
Having this in mind, the point of this article is to state limitations not of the car, but of everything around it (if it happens to start selling in my country or a similar one).
I will also limit these observations to my own country but at least from what I’ve seen, these problems are pretty common, if not worse, in other third world countries.
ELECTRIC POWER GRID-ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FOR TESLA CARS IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about problems with Tesla cars in third world countries is the quality of the electric grid.
The Tesla car is dependent on recharging and this is impossible without a quality electric supply.
For instance, in my country, we have a power grid resembling the ones from the beginning of electrification.
Common sites are old wooden posts leaning almost to the ground, dozens of power outages per year, power supply depending on the weather (wind or snow almost certainly means a power outage), and so on.
The situation is somewhat better in cities (I live in the countryside).
Also, if someday Tesla cars become widespread, I don’t know if an electric power grid like this can withstand the load of a charger or supercharger grid.
PROBLEMS WITH TESLA CARS REGARDING THE CHARGING PROCEDURE (TIME AND COST)
I’ve watched the recharging procedure: you plug the Tesla car in and wait. That shouldn’t pose any kind of problem as the procedure is as simple as it can get. The bad part is waiting.
This is where problems with Tesla cars may appear: most people (not only in third world countries to be honest) simply are accustomed to refueling their car in a matter of minutes. In my country, people get nervous when they have to wait a couple of minutes at the gas station.
Since I doubt there will be any kind of quality super-charger grid in the beginning (not because of Tesla but because of our dark-age electric companies), most potential Tesla owners will charge from their household.
Also, most owners probably won’t spend extra money on home super-chargers due to the initial cost of the car.
From what I’ve concluded, leaving the car over-night will fully charge it (at 220 volts which is the most common voltage for the European power grid). Not that much, but to be honest, I think it needs a period of adaptation.
But I hope the waiting factor will be annulled by the fact that driving this car will cost about 17 Euros per every 1000 kilometers (rough estimate on my behalf and this is only for electricity).
With some good planning of commuting and recharging, there is only gain in this one; only old habits have to change.
CHARGING AND SUPER-CHARGING STATION NETWORK PROBLEMS WITH TESLA CARS
Imposing any kind of restriction makes people nervous and may drive off potential buyers of Tesla cars.
People have simply forgotten (despite high prices) what scarcity of gas (petrol) means. They simply know they’ll find it everywhere and fill up the gas tank at their will and without any special planning.
To illustrate the situation in my country: on a 50-kilometer local road, gas stations are numbered by the dozen. The same situation is almost everywhere in the country.
The charging procedure is perhaps a sort of restriction but, as mentioned, I think people will get the hang of it over time.
Maybe the bigger problem is the charging network, especially for longer trips. This seems to be a problem in much more developed countries so it’s only logical that in third world countries it will even be bigger.
From what I’ve seen potential Tesla buyers will have two options: home charging, charging points on the road, and super-charging points (if I got this right).
Home charging may only pose a problem if a power outage happens but the charging and supercharging points are another matter.
Inefficient infrastructure (lack of parking space, narrow roads, road networks that defy logic), weak power grid, and poor government regulations will cause serious problems with the organization.
In my opinion, this will take time, patience, and a lot of planning. Without a good charging grid and quick access to it, problems with Tesla cars will happen for sure.
COST OF BUYING A TESLA CAR
This is one of the problems with Tesla cars that will certainly surface. When compared to other cars, Tesla is pretty pricey.
That is until you probably own one, drive it, and see the cost of maintenance. Then all of the money will probably seem well spent.
But my point here is not the price of the Tesla car. It’s rather what people can buy in a third world country.
You see, at least in my country, there are two types of people: rich becoming super-rich and poor becoming even poorer.
About 80 percent of the people make ends meet every month. The middle class is almost extinct.
Logic then has it that the potential buyers will probably be the rich. Well yes and no.
If the Tesla becomes a status symbol and a show-off car, maybe then. Rich people here drive Mercedes, Audi, Porsche (in full luxury trims) and mostly do so to show the rest of the population who and what they are.
So, in my opinion, the people with the most money are very unlikely to buy a Tesla car. That means the poor remain.
By poor, I don’t mean eating out of the garbage can but people who somehow manage through the year.
Despite this, I think these people are the exact market Tesla should be aiming for. On the other hand, Tesla is probably the car that those kinds of people are looking for.
Key factor here would be to make a cheaper electric car (perhaps a small four-door hatchback or estate (the size of a Skoda Fabia, I own one hence the comparison) that would combine low maintenance cost, practicality, durability, and longevity of the car.
Combine this with some sort of quality financing (leases, loans, government benefits may be) and you may have a winning combination.
LEGISLATION’S CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS WITH TESLA CARS
Governments in most third world countries are a nightmare. Their sole purpose of existence seems to be making their own lives better (financially and otherwise) while they give the remains to the rest of the people.
Most institutions are cumbersome, ineffective and to some degree pointless. Such are the legislation’s they make.
Import, registration of an electric vehicle, MOT-s (in my country they’re called technical reviews) are just some of the procedures that would certainly give a headache to a future owner.
In my knowledge, only a couple of EV’s were imported into my country to this day. From what I’ve heard it was like importing and registering a flying saucer.
But nevertheless, it was possible meaning things are changing, even here. It’s a slow pace but slow is better than nothing.
Hopefully, governments like mine will have an open mind to technological progress and make things easier for the average driver.
Who knows, miracles may happen and they may even give some benefits to drivers of electric vehicles (like in the entire civilized world).
Third world countries all have one thing in common: poor road networks.
Highways are rare and always under some kind of construction, potholes the size of a smaller kid swimming pool, intersections that demand help from a higher power to cross, and the list goes on.
All in all, a very unfriendly place for a cutting-edge technology car.
For one, the quality of the roads is more fit for a tank-like vehicle. Potholes, dents, sticking-up manholes are just some reasons that may spell doom for a sensitive undercarriage and a low vehicle clearance.
Most roads have two-lanes and are pretty narrow. This may cause problems with Tesla cars as they are pretty big in size.
What also comes to mind is the lack of signalization like road markings that are barely visible (or nonexistent) and illogically mounted traffic signs-if they were mounted at all.
I think this may cause problems with Tesla cars, especially with the auto-pilot system.
(This observation with the auto-pilot is my own; I’m certain that these problems would be solved by the people from Tesla before actually selling a car here).
These kinds of problems with Tesla cars may be the most difficult to solve.
People in third world countries tend to be hard-core when it comes to any kind of major shift in the usual practice.
When it comes to major change, what’s more major then driving an electric car?
I spoke to people on several occasions regarding this matter and 95 percent told me that it’s not going to work here (by the way, they have the same theoretic knowledge as I have).
You see people, at least where I live, have a bad habit of knowing much about nothing and commenting something that they haven’t even seen, much-less driven.
The questions go something like this: how am I going to recharge, what about spare parts, who’s going to fix it, is Elon Musk going to push me around when the car breaks down and so on and so on.
My main point here: people in most third world countries have enough prejudice for export.
In my opinion, this is mostly due to hard times, living on the edge of existence, and being ripped off all the time (pointless and expensive taxes, scammers all around the place, shady governments etc).
This all produces skepticism to whatever is new, be it good or bad; and I mean real, middle-age “burn-it-at-the stake” skepticism.
But I’ll take the smartphone as an example: at the beginning it was: “it radiates, get it away from yourself”, “it breaks easily”, “it’s too complicated” etc. The old phone was always much better in their opinion.
Today almost every one of those people, even the most hard-core proponents of old-school technology don’t even go to the bathroom without it.
I hope the same thing will happen to Tesla in terms of adopting new technology, progress and better things to come.
The destiny of licensed dealerships in third-world countries always baffles me: how do they manage?
Huge costs, pretty low sales figures compared to the number of citizens, fancy repair-shops that only the rich can afford, and so on. This is at least the case in my country.
The majority of drivers mostly turn to a good and trustworthy mechanic of their own as this option is much cheaper and the quality of repair is the same or even better.
One more thing worth mentioning is that, as with prejudice, the majority of drivers tend to run away from licensed dealerships before even asking anything.
In the back of their head, they know that they’re in for a financial disaster in terms of repair and spare parts. Things are like this even if the licensed dealership isn’t that expensive and offers guarantees.
My humble advice with these potential problems with Tesla cars is to make a very user-friendly dealership that’s close to the average driver.
By this I don’t mean a mechanic with a butt-crack and telling jokes all the time, but rather in terms of prices, services, and availability.
A future Tesla dream-dealership that would mop off the competition would have reasonable prices, good service, spare parts, and above all, respect for its customer.
The first thing drivers ask in my country when buying a car is:” are there spare parts”?
If they conclude that spare parts are expensive and scarce about 80 percent of the drivers turn away from the car instantaneously.
This goes so far that a driver will turn away from a good, quality made car (which will certainly break down far more less) in favor of a less quality made car; just because of availability and price of spare parts.
Looking at all the reviews and experiences, Tesla seems to be pretty bullet-proof on this matter.
Namely, it seems like a low-maintenance and pretty well-built car.
I’ve heard that there were some problems at the beginning of production but, hey, even the old car manufacturers make big mistakes, even in today’s modern era.
Having affordable and available spare parts (should they be needed) will make a huge difference in solving possible problems with Tesla cars.
TESLA SOFTWARE UPDATES
Don’t know much about this one nor how it exactly works but I would just like to warn on the poor quality of the internet grid and connection.
It seems that this is a problem in a lot of third world countries and can cause some problems with Tesla cars.
Providers are pretty good at their job but most of the grid is old and outdated thus prone to failure. Wi-Fi is also pretty scarce; the mobile phone internet is still in the dark ages.
I just wanted to point this out as I’m sure that one day, Tesla inc. wouldn’t sell their cars without solving this problem.
Last of this list is something that people from third world countries are well-known for.
This is the Do-It-Yourself realm.
Oh yes, all these years of semi-poverty, shady mechanical services, rip-offs, bad road infrastructure which destroys the car have made us very resourceful.
Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, to be honest.
All the way from successes to burning their own car to the ground, drivers simply like to tamper around their own cars and see this as a major factor. Simply if you can do things around it, it’s a good car.
Even a small repair like changing a headlight bulb, tail light bulb, or replacing the windshield wipers will make most drivers in my country very happy. It’s also a question of manhood for many male drivers.
Bottom line: if you don’t know how to do basic maintenance you’re sort of incompetent.
I don’t know much about Tesla cars but I hope that some simple problems can be solved by the owner/driver.
If an average driver would be able to do this, Tesla cars would be praised for sure.