The mass adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in South Africa has been hampered by the high entry price to get into this segment.
However, once inside, the electric ecosystem becomes more affordable overall.
Yes, you might have to pay a bit more to get the battery-powered variant of your favourite car – but after this, the electric vehicle proposition becomes much more attractive.
Depending on how savvy you are, you might have even taken a peek at the second-hand prices of electric vehicles and noticed that these have (in certain cases) become more affordable than petrol variants.
Additionally, most manufacturers provide battery warranties that far exceed the warranties on internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.
For example: VW is offering an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty on their all-electric ID. cars, whereas most of the local VW ICE vehicles in South Africa receive a 3-year/120,000km mechanical warranty as standard.
Services on EVs also happen less frequently, with average service costs coming in below those of ICE vehicles due to fewer moving parts – according to a study by Consumer Reports.
Range and charging
Another factor that slows down the local adoption of EVs is range anxiety.
However, this may soon be a thing of the past. The range of new electric vehicles is typically between 300km-400km per charge.
The list below details the battery size and range of prominent new electric cars currently available locally.
- BMW i3 – 42.24kWh/335km
- Jaguar I-PACE – 90kWh/470km
- Mini Cooper SE – 32.6kWh/232km
- Porsche Taycan – 93.4kWh/412km
Considering most EV owners will charge their cars at home and mainly use them for local commuting – according to Jaguar South Africa – this eliminates the concern about running out of power on the side of the road.
Additionally, South Africa has a growing public charging network provided by the likes of Gridcars.
The cost of charging your EV at home is then determined by multiplying the average municipal cost of one unit of electricity with the capacity of the relevant car’s battery.
“We can use an average of around R2.20 for a unit – municipalities charge anywhere from R1.60 to R3.00 around the country,” said Jaguar.
Commuting with an EV
According to a report by Numbeo, the world’s largest cost-of-living database, the average distance that South Africans travel in vehicles per day is 22.60km.
This means that we can take 14 trips in the BMW, 20 trips in the Jaguar, 10 trips in the Mini, and 18 trips in the Porsche before the batteries need to be recharged.
For simplicity, we will assume that a driver drives their car every day in a 30-day month.
This would result in:
- BMW i3 needing three charges per month.
- Jaguar I-PACE needing two charges per month.
- Mini Cooper SE needing three charges per month.
- Porsche Taycan needing two charges per month.
To get the monthly cost of ownership, we then have to multiply the cost of one full charge from 0-100%, with the amount of needed charges.
Keep in mind that most EV drivers tend not to drive their cars until it’s on 0% – so this is an extreme case.
Detailed below are the monthly “running costs” of electric vehicles in South Africa.
|Costs||BMW i3||Jaguar I-PACE||Mini Cooper SE||Porsche Taycan|
|Charging at home (0-100%)||R93||R198||R72||R205|
|Monthly charging cost||R279||R396||R216||R410|
|Cost per km||R0.27||R0.42||R0.31||R0.50|
Electric vehicles are not the be-all and end-all of the automotive world right now, but they are the future.
Considering the average monthly costs of running the most-premium EV in South Africa costs less than refilling the cheapest hatchback just once, there is definitely a place for these cars in our country.