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Record EV Sales In Europe Are Good For Africa

The importation of used EVs from Europe and Asia is mostly likely going to be one of the main channels for accelerating adoption of EVs in Africa.

2020 was a great year for EVs in Europe. The UK’s plugin electric vehicle market hit new highs in December 2020, at 23.4% market share, up from 6.6% in December 2019. The Tesla Model 3 was the top selling vehicle for December across all kinds of vehicles. Sweden also hit a new record, a 50% electric vehicle share in December. Then there is Norway. News of record EV market share from Norway never gets boring. Norway’s EV market share keeps setting the pace and in December, the market share for plugin electric vehicles hit 87.1%. Sales were also impressive in France, Germany, and several other markets.

All these record sales mean the penetration of EVs on the resale market keeps growing. Many of these used cars are exported to Africa. 90% of cars brought into Africa are used ICE vehicles. This is because most prospective car buyers can’t afford a brand new vehicle. The vehicle financing and leasing options are not widely available and are not as developed in most sub-Saharan markets outside South Africa which makes it very difficult for most people to buy brand new cars. Calls to curb the influx of used ICE vehicles are growing. Several countries have imposed an age cap on vehicles that can be imported into their country. In Kenya for example, only vehicles that are below 8 years from the date of manufacture can be imported. The limit for some nations is around 5 years but many other nations still allow vehicles older than 10 years to be imported. Some stakeholders feel that instead of banning the imports of used vehicles, the age cap of ICE vehicles can be brought down to less than 5 years whilst simultaneously encouraging the import of use EVs to lower emissions. Other stakeholders are pushing for a total ban on imports of used ICE vehicles. The importance of accelerating the adoption of EVs to cut emissions in this part of the world has been discussed here.

The importation of used EVs from Europe and Asia is mostly likely going to be one of the main channels for accelerating adoption of EVs on the continent. Used car dealerships are already starting to stock used EVs with some going even further, pivoting to focus only on plug-in vehicles. The interest is there in the market as we have seen from the reactions to low mileage used EVs imported directly by early adopters. Some of these EV enthusiasts imported some Tesla Model Xs and one of these has been creating quite a buzz in Nairobi. One of the early adopters, Iyadi, imported directly from the United Kingdom a 35.8 kWh 2019 VW eGolf. Here is a video of him in Nairobi sharing his experience of importing an EV directly into Kenya.


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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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