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HomeFeaturesHybrid car sales in South Africa up by over 1,800%

Hybrid car sales in South Africa up by over 1,800%

We have yet to reach the end of 2022, and sales of traditional hybrid vehicles in South Africa are already up by 1,885% compared to the first eight months of 2021.

Electric vehicles (EV) have also seen a jump of 200% in sales this year thus far, while plug-in hybrid cars have seen their performance improve by 175%.

Altogether, this means that sales of new-energy vehicles (NEV) which comprises mostly anything that doesn’t use purely petrol or diesel have shot up by 1,011% in 2022 in relation to the same period in 2021, according to Naamsa.

The below table details the sales of NEVs in the country from January 2017 until August 2022, showing a relatively consistent pattern in purchase volumes until late last year when fuel prices started rising rapidly.

Rise of NEVs in South Africa

The increase in NEV sales coincides with the uptick in offerings of this kind in the local market.

Pre-2021 there were few partially-electrified vehicles available, especially not at the lower end of the price spectrum.

However, a slew of hybrid and electric cars were introduced to the country not long after the year started, which could help explain why NEVs became much more popular towards the latter half.

In April of last year, the country’s favourite automaker put on sale the updated Prius, one of the longest-standing hybrid vehicles of all time.

The push into NEV territory became more determined when a few months later in September, Toyota unveiled the Corolla and RAV4 Hybrids, while early in 2022 a four-wheel-drive RAV4 Hybrid was also added to the line-up.

Though arguably the most impactful among the fresh-faced NEVs is the Corolla Cross, mixing the magic of the Toyota badge with that of the SUV body style at a palatable price, resulting in instant success on the sales charts since it became available.

Roughly the same time Toyota started taking hybrids seriously Honda released its Fit Hybrid, too, which has garnered several positive reviews for its semi-battery-motivated drivetrain.

This year, we have continued to see not one, not two, but all three of the big German automakers releasing their rosters of EVs comprising Audi’s line-up of e-trons, BMW’s i-badged models, and Mercedes-Benz’s EQ range.

Moreover, Volvo, while having offered hybrids only for a long time, took it a step further by launching the first plug-in hybrid variants of the XC60 and XC90 SUVs, as well as a fully-electric XC40 that can be had with either one or two motors.

The dual-motor XC40 launched at a starting price of R1,200,000 exclusively available on the Volvo online store and it sold out in four days, while for its cheaper sibling it took less than 24 hours for all the available units to find owners at a price of R1,075,000.

Even Maserati has thrown its hat into the ring by replacing its previous diesel-powered Ghibli and Levante with new-age hybrid variants.

Haval is then the latest automaker to join the fray with its H6 HEV last month, which gets the honour of being its most-expensive vehicle on the local market selling for R669,950.

Looking to 2023 and beyond, fans of NEVs can expect the domestic debut of a fully-electric Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, as well as a hybrid Haval Jolion which has only been teased on the manufacturer’s social pages.

Suzuki, too, is bringing its own “smart hybrid” Grand Vitara to the country not far into next year, with Nissan planning to do the same with its range-extending e-Power Qashqai.

Toyota is also shipping another hybrid crossover, the Crown, to South Africa in the not-so-distant future, and Kia is looking to establish “a diverse range of powertrains” with the all-electric EV6 being all but confirmed for a local introduction.

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