The South African EV market is starting to grow quite nicely. We really hope that this market can start to catch up with other markets around the world that show that the transition to electromobility is happening a whole lot faster than previously thought. South Africa’s uYilo Mobility Program, a multi-stakeholder collaborative program focused on enabling, facilitating, and mobilizing electric mobility in South Africa showed in its State of Electric Vehicles in South Africa report that 1,119 plugin electric vehicles had been sold in South Africa by the end of 2019. The sales were practically evenly split between battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plugin hybrids (PHEVs). 545 (49%) of these were BEVs and 574 (51%) were PHEVs.
We believe this year and next year will prove to be very important in this transition in South Africa as more full battery electric vehicles are launched in South Africa. A growing public charging network will also help assure potential EV buyers. On the charging infrastructure side of things, several firms are now scaling up their networks.
These include Gridcars, evCrowdRoute, and Blueplug. We have looked at the importance of the new generation of plug-in hybrid SUVs and the potential impact of fully electric SUVs. The Jaguar I-Pace has been well received in South Africa and it was recently voted South Africa’s Car of The Year. This was the first time ever that an electric vehicle has won this award. Mercedes is bringing its EQC 400 4MATIC to South Africa and Audi is also bringing its e-Tron as well. Now the recently unveiled BMW iX3 is also coming to South Africa in 2021.
BMW South Africa has been really good with promoting EVs in South Africa. The i3 is South Africa’s all-time top selling BEV and the i8 tops the plug-in hybrid charts. With its 80 kWh battery and real-world range that is close to 400 km, the iX3 should be popular as well in South Africa. It has a 210 kW motor giving 400 Nm of torque.
The iX3 shares the same platform as the plug-in hybrid, the mild hybrid, and the fossil fuel X3 models. The iX3 will be built at the BMW/Brilliance Automotive joint venture plant in China where BMW has been producing the X3. BMW also produces the X3 in Rosslyn, Pretoria, South Africa. Since they share the same platform, we hope in the long run BMW can start to also build the iX3 in Pretoria.
So, it appears premium all-electric SUV models are set to light up South Africa’s EV market, although there is still no word from Hyundai/Kia on the availability of the Kona EV and Niro EV in South Africa. These would certainly have a huge impact due to their more affordable price tags. Lexus also has strong presence in South Africa. It would be good if we also get the 1 million kilometer battery warranty backed UX300e SUV in this part of the world.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.