S01E06 Africa’s first Tesla arrives at Jendamark with Greg Blandford

Posted On: March 3, 2022

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S01E06 Africa’s first Tesla arrives at Jendamark with Greg Blandford

In this episode, we discuss with Yanesh and Greg what the future and direction of technology will look like in the coming decade, considering how the last decade transpired, and how they are preparing for the next. We learn about the acclaimed Tesla Model X and the day-to-day experience of driving the vehicle, and how Rubicon imported the first Tesla Model X into South Africa.

We discuss:

  • the journey of Greg Blandford and finding his passion in the renewable energy sector
  • Rubicon as leader in the renewable energy sector
  • the experience of driving the Tesla Model X in South Africa
  • marketing and product development
  • Tesla’s business model
  • and much more…



“It’s never about an individual, it’s always about the organisation and the people with whom you work.” ~ Greg Blandford

Greg Blandford, has a long history of working in smart technology and has gained in-depth knowledge of alternative energy generation. Negotiation, planning, operations, management, sales, and team development are among his many skills. Our conversation with him was made unforgettable by his passion for marketing and new product development.


01:05If someone had told you 20 years ago that your life would be exactly as it is today, both in business and in your career, I’m sure you couldn’t have predicted things would turn out the way they did. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years, taking the last ten into consideration?

  • A decade flies by, and looking back, I never anticipated I’d be where I am now.
  • Understanding your sector and focusing on emerging technology becomes extremely crucial.
  • It’s critical to keep up with industry advances, particularly in the alternative energy sector, through reading and staying informed.
  • We must invest in R&D to investigate how we might integrate new innovations.
  • Curiosity and a desire to learn new things have kept us on track for the past decade, and we hope it will continue to do so in the future.

How did you end up driving the first Tesla in South Africa?

  • E-mobility and renewable energy sources are two topics that fascinate me.
  • I wanted to get heavily involved in the industry, not just by driving specific goods, but also by shaping the industry’s story and striving to move it in a specific direction.
  • This method, I believe, provides greater benefit.

What has Rubicon’s journey been like from electronic component reseller to renewable energy sector leader?

  • Looking at where we’ve come from, I believe it boils down to our team’s drive for finding innovative solutions for our customers.
  • Our company has been revolutionised by a mix of vision, strategy, and commitment.
  • In any business, passion is crucial because a product isn’t just a product.
  • The narrative gets quite strong when you package a product with value-added services and passion.
  • Solar batteries, energy storage, e-mobility power solutions, and lighting are among our goods.
  • Our product line, when combined, delivers a very powerful offering for the client.

How did you come up with the marketing approach to import the Tesla?

  • One of the most crucial divisions of every organisation is marketing.
  • It’s all about how the user is informed about the products or services.
  • The utilisation of specialised marketing points, such as the marketing that we achieved with the Tesla, would not have been possible if the money had been spent on other forms of marketing.
  • Tesla is a highly powerful brand and being associated with it coincides with Rubicon’s direction as a company.

What makes Tesla stand out among competitors?

  • Tesla is all about the software installed in the hardware.
  • The software is what distinguishes the vehicle.
  • More than anything, Tesla has managed to create a unique experience.
  • Their software is always improving, allowing the car to improve over time.
  • The day you buy a car in the traditional automotive sector, it is the greatest it will ever be since it depreciates and remains entirely static.
  • By allowing consumers to modify their automobiles through the internet, Tesla has changed the business paradigm.
  • It’s a fascinating full reversal in business model thinking in that when an OEM sells a car, they have the opportunity to profit from it by selling parts for servicing and that’s it, but Tesla has the opportunity to profit from additional features by selling subscriptions.

What is it like driving an EV in South Africa?

  • I was initially concerned due to the state of the roads and my fear of what would happen in the event of a breakdown.
  • I considered the state of the charging infrastructure.
  • I was pleasantly pleased because the highway infrastructure is actually rather decent.
  • I believe that the charger network’s capacity could be increased.

There is a lot of jargon in industry with words such as Powerpack, Powerwall and Megapack, but what are these products?

  • Tesla is well-known for its Powerwall, which is a lithium-ion battery solution for residential use.
  • They also have energy storage products for business and utility use.
  • Megapack is the product for smaller to bigger commercial scales, as well as huge commercial to utility scales, and it is infinitely expandable.
  • If you wanted to, you could take an entire city off the grid, but the items are already divided into different allocations based on the customer’s needs.
  • From one to ten units, it’s a Powerwall, and from ten upwards it’s a Powerpack, then a Megapack as the units begin to scale.

How do small to medium enterprise organisations get involved in the green economy?

  • It’s a minefield in South Africa because there are so many competitors who have popped up as far as product supply is concerned.
  • It’s always a good idea to prioritise good value, product functionality, and quality.
  • Those are the three areas to concentrate on, followed by cutting-edge technologies.
  • Renewable energy storage, I believe, will be the next wave of technology items.
  • We’re starting to see more widespread adoption of solar, which was once prohibitively expensive for most people but has now gotten much more reasonable.
  • The same scenario was observed with LED flat screen TVs. Initially, no one could afford them and now they have become a lot cheaper.

What do you want your legacy to be?

  • I gave it some thought and realised that it is never about the individual; it is always about the organisation and the people with whom you work.
  • I’ll be content knowing that I helped to ensure the planet’s long-term survival, and that Rubicon as a company has made a significant contribution to that.