Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries
Cars Image: A Tesla Model 3 on show at a Shopping Centre in the United Kingdom. Picture by Keith Kuhudzai

Published on July 4th, 2020 | by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

July 4th, 2020 by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai 


The transition to electromobility is well underway. In fact, it is happening much faster than most people think. EV market share figures are starting to look quite nice in many markets in the developed world. The only enigma looks to be the appalling figures coming out of Japan. These very low numbers for Japan are quite shocking for a country in which most people’s commutes are actually perfect for the ranges one can get from EVs these days.

We previously looked at some of the options that African countries could explore to join the party. Following up on that, AfricaNEV, a civic advocacy group that is pushing for adoption of electric vehicles in Africa, conducted a study looking into just how much it costs to drive 100 km across 23 African countries using electric and petrol vehicles in Africa.

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

Africa energy prices — electricity tariffs and the price of petrol and diesel across 23 African countries. Chart courtesy of AfricaNEV.

Just like any other industry, electric has its own icon, the Tesla Model 3! Using electricity tariffs and petrol prices in each of the 23 countries, AfricaNEV looked at the costs of “fueling” the Model 3 versus some popular fossil fueled models in each of these 23 countries. No surprises here, the Model 3 wins, and it’s not even a contest.

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

Tesla Model 3 in Florida. Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica.

The study does give us some interesting insights into how these costs vary across the various countries from South, East, West and North Africa. The study reveals some very nice places to drive electric based on the current utility tariffs.

These tariffs can be as low as $0.04/kWh in Algeria, allowing one to drive a Model 3 for 100 km for just $0.65 using a consumption of 160 Wh/km. AfricaNEV used an equivalent fossil fuel vehicle to compare the costs of fueling the vehicles. To fuel a Mercedes C300 for 100 km works out to about $3.26 based on the price of petrol at the time of the study, which was $0.35 per litre.

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

Cost to drive a Tesla Model 3 over 100 km in 23 African countries. Chart courtesy of AfricaNEV.

Africa is a big continent with over 50 countries. The study gives a good indication of the electricity tariff landscape on the continent. In Nigeria, the tariffs get up to 11 cents/kWh and driving 100 km in a Model 3 would cost $1.13, compared with $3.72 in a Mercedes C300 at about $0.40 per litre of petrol, showing that driving electric is way cheaper even in oil-producing countries such as Algeria and Nigeria where petrol is very cheap. 

Kenya gives a nice example of just how good driving electric can be even with higher electricity tariffs of $0.23 cents/kWh. AfricaNEV’s study shows that driving 100 km in a Model 3 in Kenya would cost $3.37 whilst the Mercedes C-Class would need about $10.16 of petrol at $1.09 per liter.

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

Cost to drive a Mercedes C300 over 100 km in 23 African countries. Chart courtesy of AfricaNEV.

We also recently looked at why Kenya is one of the best places to drive electric —for several reasons, including a very clean grid and excess electricity generation. On the extreme end, in Chad, where the electricity tariff is a whopping $0.33/kWh, it would still be cheaper to drive electric, with 100 km costing just over $5 compared to $8.17 at 88 cents per liter of petrol for the Mercedes C300.

AfricaNEV’s study is covering the period around November 2019, but it is still very much representative of the standard market conditions in these African countries. A study is underway to look at the impact of the Covid-19 induced oil glut.

A lot of people would think, “okay, great, driving electric is way cheaper, but what about all the power outages we hear about in Nigeria and other African countries?” Brendan Wright and family showed us that it’s not as hard as we think it is. The Wright family has been driving electric for almost 3 years now in Zimbabwe despite daily 18 hour power outages.

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

The Wright family’s Nissan Leaf. Image courtesy Brendan Wright.

The cost of solar panels has gone down significantly over recent years, as illustrated by Swanson’s Law. This reduction in the cost of solar panels has led to a massive boom in solar installations worldwide. The synergistic effects of distributed solar systems and EVs will propel both industries across the continent.

One of CleanTechnica’s writers, Maarten Vinkhuyzen, even suggested to us that EVs should be sold with a solar kit bundled into the package. That makes a lot of sense for a lot of these African countries that have regular power outages, such as Zimbabwe. Even South Africa has been experiencing some regular power rationing cycles as the utility company struggles to meet demand. Nothing beats having your own “Fuel Station” at home.

Image: A Tesla Model 3 on show at a Shopping Centre in the United Kingdom. Picture by Keith Kuhudzai

A Tesla Model 3 on show at a shopping centre in the United Kingdom. Picture courtesy of Keith Kuhudzai.

Related stories:

  1. The EV Revolution Is Happening Faster Than Expected
  2. How Can Africa Join The EV Revolution? (Video)
  3. Drivelectric Kenya Shows Why You Should Be Driving An Electric Vehicle in Kenya!
  4. Zimbabwe Family Shows That Even With 18-Hour Daily Grid Outages, Most People Could Live Comfortably With An EV
  5. Cost Of Solar 2 To 100 Times Lower Than You Think

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Tags: Africa, africa clean energy, Africa electric vehicles, Africa energy, Africa EV adoption, African Countries, AfricaNEV, Chad, Driveelectric Kenya, East Africa, Kenya, Mercedes C300, Nigeria, North Africa, South Africa, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, West Africa, Zimbabwe


About the Author

Study: Driving Tesla Model 3 Is Whole Lot Cheaper Than Driving Petrol Vehicles In 23 African Countries

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.





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