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Sunday / 14 July 2024
HomeFeaturesMost affordable mild-hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric car in South Africa

Most affordable mild-hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric car in South Africa

There has been a marked increase in the number of new-energy vehicles (NEV) entering South Africa in recent years, resulting in more and more affordable models reaching the market.

The term new-energy vehicles (NEV) encompasses a variety of powertrains, the most prominent of which are mild-hybrids (MHEV), traditional hybrids (HEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and battery-electric vehicles (BEV).

A relatively new phenomenon in the market, MHEVs employ small 12 to 48-volt systems alongside a traditional petrol or diesel engine to improve fuel efficiency and acceleration performance, but they can not drive the wheels on electricity alone.

The next step up, HEVs combine a slightly larger battery and a small e-motor with the internal-combustion engine (ICE) to bring even greater fuel savings as well as other benefits such as driving on battery power without burning fuel.

However, HEVs are somewhat limited in their abilities and will only travel short distances and at low speeds on electrons, and they can’t be plugged into a wall to charge – this is done by the ICE.

At the top of the hybrid hierarchy sits PHEVs, which feature the largest battery and e-motor out of all the semi-electric powertrains on the market.

They offer true BEV capabilities without sacrificing the safety net of petrol and diesel, such as electric-only driving ranges of over 100km at freeway speeds. As the name suggests, PHEVs can also be plugged into an electricity outlet to replenish.

Completing the circle, pure BEVs only use battery power to move the wheels and do not have any petrol or diesel propulsion sources.

Most affordable MHEV in South Africa

The most affordable MHEV in South Africa is the Suzuki Grand Vitara selling for R542,900, which in fact is also Suzuki’s first electrified car in the country.

This specific Grand Vitara’s powertrain consists of a 1.5-litre petrol motor assisted by an integrated starter generator and 12V battery that is “designed to deliver additional assistance to the engine during acceleration” for smoother and easier pullaways, said Suzuki.

The MHEV features a six-speed automatic transmission and is also the only Grand Vitara with four-wheel drive.

Altogether, the system develops 76kW and 137Nm which is good for a top speed of 165km/h and an average consumption rating of 5.6l/100km.

Most affordable HEV in South Africa

The most wallet-friendly HEV on the market is the Toyota Corolla Cross XS which can be yours for R486,100.

Under the hood of this Toyota is a 1.8-litre petrol mill producing 72kW and 142Nm complemented by an e-motor with 53kW and 163Nm; with the entire system boasting an output of 90kW.

Toyota doesn’t provide the torque figures of its hybrids due to “drivetrain complexity,” the automaker said.

Nevertheless, the semi-electric Corolla Cross channels drive to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and it returns a decently low fuel usage of 4.3l/100km while being capable of eclipsing 170km/h.

Most affordable PHEV in South Africa

The BMW X1 xDrive30e comes in as the cheapest PHEV in the country at R1,050,000.

The crossover incorporates a 1.5-litre, turbo-petrol engine generating 110kW and 230Nm with an e-motor capable of producing 130kW and 247Nm, resulting in a combined power output of 240kW and 477Nm.

This is delivered to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox, enabling the crossover to sprint to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds.

Also on board the BMW is a 16.3kWh battery that supplies an electric driving range of 89km and assists the drivetrain in scoring a low combined fuel consumption of 1.6l/100km.

Most affordable BEV in South Africa

The most attainable BEV in South Africa right now is the new BYD Dolphin, though it is currently only available in two provinces – KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The hatchback is sold in two specifications starting at R539,900 for the Standard Range and R599,900 for the Extended Range model.

The Standard comes with a 44.9kWh battery lending it a driving range of 340km, with a single e-motor between the front wheels generating 70kW and 180Nm sending the BYD to 100km/h in 12.3 seconds.

Getting the Extended Range variant sees a 60.48kWh module that pushes driving potential to 427km, and it also brings a more powerful drive unit producing 150kW and 310Nm that cuts acceleration time to seven seconds.


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