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Electric models could prove difficult to introduce to the country, says the SA taxi industry

Electric minibus taxis to be tested in the country. Picture: Willem Law

Electric minibus taxis to be tested in the country. Picture: Willem Law

Published Jan 29, 2022

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Transaction Capital, a JSE-listed company that owns SA Taxi, will be trialling electric models as part of the group’s clean energy strategy.

CEO Terry Kier said they will assess the viability of some electric taxis in the country.

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“We will remain an active partner in facilitating the shift to electric vehicles in the minibus taxi industry, doing our part to resolve the complexities to the extent we can, given our sphere of influence,” said Kier.

According to Kier, there is a great deal of interest in electric vehicles, particularly their ability to transform public transport; however, there is a need to balance this excitement against “the complexities unique to the South African context” which presents to the viability of this mode of transport.

“First, the tax regime and incentives for electric vehicles are not yet conducive to import; an electric taxi will cost around double what a locally manufactured diesel minibus taxi costs. However, government is reviewing excise duties on these vehicles, which should reduce import costs in time,” Kier said.

There will also be an impact on the fiscus as batteries can reduce the number of passengers compared to traditional minibus taxis.

On the fuel use by the minibus taxi industry, which pays tax on every litre bought, Kier said this will mean a larger loss of revenue because electricity costs and supply are major issues in South Africa.

Kier said, “I am not suggesting that electric taxis do not have a place in the company’s long-term strategy, but that there are many stakeholders that must be included, and constraints considered and planned for, to successfully replace the fleet“.

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