Electric vehicles becoming the norm in South Africa – What needs to happen – TopAuto
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Friday / 27 May 2022
HomeFeaturesElectric vehicles becoming the norm in South Africa – What needs to happen

Electric vehicles becoming the norm in South Africa – What needs to happen

Sales of electric cars in South Africa are expected to increase in the coming years – but there are still several hurdles on the path to widespread adoption.

The first and most obvious barrier is price.

TopAuto recently published a list of all the electric cars available in South Africa, and the cheapest full-size car on offer was the R709,000 Mini Cooper SE.

The introduction and sale of cars like the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and BMW iX have shown there is an interest in high-end electric cars from local drivers, however, which should filter down to the mass market.

Based on this, Jaguar Land Rover told TopAuto it believes that a variety of electric vehicle (EV) options in the market is key to widespread adoption.

The automaker announced in 2021 that it plans for Jaguar to become an all-electric brand from 2025 – and will release six Land Rover EVs, with the first due in 2024, and have both Jaguar and Land Rover be purely electric brands by the end of the decade.

When it comes to maintenance, though, electric vehicles should be cheaper to run and maintain in the long run when compared to petrol-powered cars.

It is also cheaper to recharge an EV than to refuel an equivalent petrol car, especially as fuel prices in South Africa continue to rise.

Range

Another concern with EVs for many South Africans is range.

In November 2021, TopAuto conducted a survey and found that range anxiety was a primary concern many South Africans had with buying an EV.

Despite the average survey respondent driving less than 50km per day, 71% of those who answered the survey said they desired a car that can do over 200km of range on a single charge.

Many modern EVs do support this range, but are well out of the average consumer’s budget.

Affordable electric cars with 200km of range on a single charge are needed to drive adoption, based on the feedback from the TopAuto survey.

Charging stations

Related to concerns about maximum range is the availability of charging stations – an element which is constantly improving in the country.

The private sector has been facilitating the development of domestic charging infrastructure to accommodate the growing adoption of EVs, and Audi, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover have partnered with GridCars to assist in the installation of charging points across the country.

This charging network can be seen on Chargestations.co.za – a live map that shows the location of charging points all over South Africa.

Misconceptions

Jaguar Land Rover said it also believes one of the biggest hurdles to EV adoption in South Africa is the misconceptions surrounding the technology.

These misconceptions include range and charging concerns, as well as uncertainty over high electricity and charging costs.

Jaguar cited a recent test it conducted which showed that a Jaguar I-PACE is approximately six-times cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol-powered car – which will only become more favourable as petrol prices continue to rise in South Africa.

Many South Africans have also expressed worries regarding battery life in an EV, citing the cost of replacing one to be a major concern with owning an EV long-term.

Jaguar said this, too, is something automakers have taken care of. For example: the batteries in an I-PACE should exceed the life-span of the car.

Additionally, as the market matures and new cars are developed, the technology in them will improve. Jaguar Land Rover said marked changes will take place in the coming decade.

“Battery and recharging technologies will have improved, and more affordable offerings from a broader range of brands will be in market,” it said.

“Electric propulsion will no longer be an out-of-reach fantasy – it will be an expectation of consumers for their vehicles of choice.

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