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South African electric car sales projected to 'grow significantly'

The Jaguar I-Pace is due to hit South African streets in the second quarter.

The Jaguar I-Pace is due to hit South African streets in the second quarter.

Published Jan 28, 2019


Johannesburg - South Africa could have an electric vehicle car parc of 145 000 with annual sales of new EVs of 43 000 units within the next six years.

This forecast by Jaguar Land Rover South Africa was based on the uptake of EVs in the domestic market matching the global average of EVs accounting for up to 11 percent of all new cars sold in 2025.

Richard Gouverneur, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, said on Friday that the uptake of EVs globally had been growing exponentially, but there was some belief in South Africa that it would never take off in this country.

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“There is no doubt in my mind that EVs will form a part of our future and we have no choice but to adopt electrification as part of our model and product strategy going forward in South Africa,” he said.

Jaguar Land Rover is preparing to launch the all-electric I-Pace SUV in South Africa in the second quarter of this year, which has a claimed range of up to 470km, depending on driving style and conditions on a single charge.

In partnership with electric vehicle charging authority GridCars, R30 million has been invested in 82 public EV charging stations on South Africa’s major routes to lay the foundation for the future of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the country.

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With 294kW on tap, the Jaguar I-Pace offers sports car rivalling performance.

Brian Hastie, the network director and electrification team leader at Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and vice-chairperson of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa electric, hybrid and autonomous working group, said this investment was a response to claims that motorists were unable to live with an EV on an everyday basis.

Hastie said global EV sales had grown exponentially to 1 million units in 2017 and 1.6 million units last year, and it is estimated that EV sales would account for 55 percent of all new vehicle sales by 2040.

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He said there were 20 EV brands,and they anticipated there would be up to 100 different EV model ranges within the next four or five years.

Hastie said the barriers to EV were falling, but he continually got comments that South Africa was not ready for EVs.

He said EVs were coming “whether we like it or not”.

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“We (South Africa) source cars from Europe and the East and they are going to build cars and technologies that are required by China, Europe and the US.

“Those are huge markets and we will be subject to what is produced on a global scale,” he said.

Hastie said there was unfortunately a “penalty” on EVs in South Africa in the form of an import duty that added to the cost of EVs, but the industry was lobbying the government to reduce this duty and provision was made in the new Automotive Master Plan for the emergence of new technologies.

“We understand the reality that the Treasury is not in these times going to give away money out of the fiscus to support electric cars. But there could be some relaxation or some benefits that flow through to the consumer,” he said.

Winstone Jordaan from GridCars said international predictions were that there would be price parity between EVs and internal combustion engine cars by 2022 or 2023.

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