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Cost of charging and maintenance of Tesla Cars in Nigeria

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Tesla Inc., a company established in Palo Alto, California, United States of America, is into the manufacture of electric vehicles, solar panels, battery energy storage, etc. You must have heard of Elon Musk, the new richest man in the world; he is the CEO of Tesla Inc., Yeah, that’s right.  The name Tesla was derived from the famous historical inventor, Nikolas Tesla.

One of the amazing things about Nigeria is that it is home to various kinds of car brands. It’s not hard to find Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini, etc. While these may sound like conventional brands that are easy to come by let me shock you, an unconventional car brand has been spotted in Nigeria too – Tesla Model S from Tesla Inc.

Cost of charging Tesla Cars in Nigeria

The maximum household rate of power in Lagos is about ₦32/kWh according to the Ikeja distribution company. To estimate how much it costs to charge a Tesla Model X’s battery, we multiply it by the size of the battery: 100 KW. This means the cost of charging the battery fully is ₦3,200 (~$6). This can take the car for a week or two or even a month depending on your driving habits. One of Tesla’s owners in Nigeria, Alkesh Thavrani said when he’s not travelling long distances, he can go a week or two without needing to charge the car

How does this stack up against a fossil-fuel-powered car? 

“Now if you’re driving a similar fossil-fuel-powered car as thirsty as this, you’ll be spending at least ₦15,000 per week on fuel. The tires will wear out faster because it’ll be heavier than this and your car won’t be as fast as this,” Ismail said.

In terms of maintenance, what Ismail has mostly done is inspection so far. “We typically just check the air filters, oil, and shock absorbers. We haven’t had to replace anything apart from tires.” 

Notably, the car doesn’t come with spare tires, which Babatunde claims is a common trend in many other new cars. The cost of replacing the Tesla tire (20-inch rims) is about ₦110,000 (~$200) for each tire.  

When I asked if that wasn’t too expensive, Ismail insisted he thought it was fair. He recently bought a tire for ₦330,000 (~$600) for an SUV. “These days I don’t think any tire would cost less than ₦20,000 (~$36.4) and that’s a cheap brand,” he said.

Battery life and mileage of Tesla

“At full charge, the car can go about 500 km,” It’s slightly less if the air conditioner/heater is used. For context, a trip from Lagos to Ibadan is about 125km. This means the Tesla Model X can complete a round trip on one full charge, although a mobile charger can be taken around in the car in case plans change. 

Nigerian roads are notorious for traffic jams, so what happens when the car is stuck in traffic? Fortunately, Tesla cars are equipped with regenerative braking, a feature that uses the excess energy produced by a moving vehicle to charge the batteries, thus slowing down the car. Depending on the speed at which the vehicle moves, it can gain back as high as 80% of the energy generated via regenerative braking. 

What happens when the battery reaches zero? It’s possible that the car will still drive for a few more kilometres. Different Tesla car owners have reported driving about 16-32km at 0% before their cars come to a final halt—Tesla strongly advises against doing this.

This is possible because just like your smartphone, battery life percentage is an estimation of how much battery is left based on the rate at which the voltage is discharged—the pressure of voltage output is strong when the battery is full and weaker when it’s low. In addition, there are other factors that influence the estimate, this explains why your phone sometimes lasts longer than 1%.

“To put things in perspective, driving from Yaba to Ikoyi is less than 15km. Now with all these in place, you have to be reckless to be stranded due to no battery power”

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