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The salary you need to earn to afford the cheapest electric car in South Africa

Anyone in South Africa who is interested in owning an electric car will need to ear at least R60,000 per month to purchase one on a finance plan, according to calculation by TopAuto.

The cheapest electric vehicle (EV) on the market right now is the BYD Dolphin, which is currently limited to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape as the Chinese manufacturer is rolling it out on a per-province basis.

The Dolphin is available in two specifications – Standard and Extended Range – with prices set at R539,900 and R599,900, respectively.

Powering the hatchback is a front-mounted electric motor, which produces a minimum of 70kW and 180Nm.

The base model is fitted with a 44.9kWh battery, which affords a driving range of 340km.

The Extended Range version, as its name implies, gets a larger 60.48kWh cell with 427km on tap, but it also benefits from a more powerful motor with 150kW and 310Nm.

As for its equipment, the two models are only differentiated by their powertrains, meaning their spec sheets are otherwise identical.

This means all Dolphin buyers receive automatic LED lights, keyless entry and start, climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a wireless charger, a panoramic glass roof, a 5-inch digital driver display, and a 12.8-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite navigation.

This is on top of front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree camera system, lane-keep support, lane-departure warning, lane-departure prevention, lane-change collision warning, intelligent speed limit control, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, predictive collision warning, front and rear cross-traffic alert with braking, rear collision warning,  driver fatigue monitoring, and blind-spot detection.

Each purchase of the BYD is supported by a 5-year/100,000km vehicle warranty and an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty.

What you need to earn

We can use the following formula to work out the monthly payments on the new BYD:

  • Car price – R539,900/R599,900
  • Payment term – 60 terms (5 years)
  • Interest – 11.75%
  • Deposit – 0%
  • Balloon – No balloon payment
  • Extras – No optional extras

According to this, you’ll need to pay at least R12,037 per month to take home the Dolphin, or up to R13,365 per month if you want better range.

Financial experts then recommend that you do not spend more than 20% of your gross monthly salary on vehicle payments.

This means you’ll need to earn between R60,185 per month and R66,825 per month to purchase an electric car on a finance plan in South Africa.

Note that this figure does not account for insurance, electricity, and maintenance, which must all be factored into your budget.


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