Africa presents an exciting opportunity in the electromobility space. Africa’s low motorization levels present an opportunity for another leapfrog event, like seen previously in the telecommunications industry. The transition to electromobility in developed markets is happening a whole lot faster than previously thought. The European scene is red hot right now, with major markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, and France all seeing huge surges in plugin-vehicle market share.
We have previously discussed how Africa can also quickly join this EV revolution. One of the avenues could be incentivising imports of used EVs, since the largest share of vehicles brought into Africa and the ones the majority of people can afford are used vehicles. Increasing the number of models available in general, including brand new vehicles, will certainly help drive adoption.
Several African countries are actively promoting local production of motor vehicles to help drive industrialisation and economic growth, and thus increase employment opportunities. Several automakers have responded to the call by opening up assembly plants, such as Volkswagen plants in Rwanda, Kenya, and Ghana. But these plants have started by assembling internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In Ghana, Volkswagen’s plant assembles ICE versions of the Tiguan and Tremont SUVs, the Passat, the Polo, and the Amarok pickup. They are targeting production of around 5,000 vehicles in the first year, ramping up production based on demand.
Hyundai has gone one better in Ethiopia and gone straight in with some EVs! Marathon Motor Engineering, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and Olympic Champion Haile Gebrselassie, has started assembling the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq in Ethiopia. It seems Hyundai is serious about taking the lead in Africa, as the Stallion Group and Hyundai are also now assembling the critically acclaimed Hyundai Kona EV in Lagos, Nigeria. We don’t have the planned annual production numbers yet, but the range and price given in the autojosh.com article appear to indicate it is the 64 kWh version that is now being assembled in Nigeria. The Kona EV will be priced at around $62,000 in Nigeria.
It’s really good to see more new EVs being assembled in Africa, and it’s really good to see Nigeria, a major oil producer on the continent, promoting the assembly of EVs. We really hope more countries follow Ethiopia and Nigeria in attracting a major OEM such as Hyundai to assemble fully electric vehicles.
We hope that South Africa will soon also join them in producing fully electric vehicles. South Africa is a major producer of vehicles on the continent, and the majority of them are destined for the export market, targeting countries that are now putting in place more aggressive measures to limit new ICE vehicle sales.
The United Kingdom this week announced it is bringing forward its ban on new ICE vehicle sales to 2030, which is just 9 years away. Zimbabwe is trying to resuscitate its small vehicle assembly industry. Zimbabwe imports all of its fossil fuels and has been experiencing chronic fuel shortages for years. EVs may be the answer for Zimbabwe. The $62,000 price tag for the Kona is quite steep, but we need as many models as possible in this part of the world as well, and this is a good start. Maybe Chinese OEMs will follow soon with cheaper models to really accelerate adoption of EVs.