The transition to electric mobility is happening faster than a lot of people think. Africa is actually in very good position to lead this transition going forward. That’s because a lot of African countries have low motorization rates, presenting a massive opportunity for another leapfrog event similar to the one seen with the mobile phone revolution. This transition will not necessarily be driven by traditional dealerships and franchises of legacy automakers, but by independent dealers who import new and used vehicles into African countries.
In fact, tech & appliance stores and traders on the continent and elsewhere will probably view smart, connected new energy vehicles as gadgets and appliances that are not too far off from their core business. Bundling these products with innovative financing models on easily accessible platforms such as mobile money with will help accelerate the adoption of EVs and at the same time disrupt the traditional car dealership model. Many official dealerships and franchises of legacy automakers across the continent still view electric vehicles as something that will happen in the future and not now. They are also quite reliant on the spare parts & servicing of ICE vehicle business. They will mostly likely realize how fast this transition will be when it’s too late.
It will most likely be the cheaper small city EVs, such as the Chinese-built City EVs that will have a huge impact in this space. These small, affordable city EVs that I like to put in a category I call “ICE Killers” due to the fact they could land in Africa at prices comparable to used ICE vehicles that currently dominate imports into these markets, could help catalyze this transition.
Last year, I wrote an article where I listed 7 potential ICE Killers that could disrupt the ICE market. When most people go out to look for a car, the most important factor is the price. These ICE Killers are certainly in the price bucket and driving range that would make many families in this market consider the switch to electric. One of the vehicles I had put in this category was the Renault K-ZE. I was delighted to find out that this transition is actually happening even faster than I thought. You can now get this ICE Killer in Ghana! Let’s hope Renault will actually make these vehicles in significant numbers so that there will continue to be enough supply in order to ultimately trickle down to this part of the world as well. It would be even better if a cheaper LFP-based model could be assembled in some African countries.
SolarTaxi Ghana is moving fast in this space and has recently added the Renault K-ZE to the growing range of fully electric models it is offering in Ghana for lease or outright purchase. The Renault K-ZE costs around $8,000 after subsidies in China. That’s a very good deal for a brand new EV with some very decent specs. It will cost more than double this price in Ghana when all the import duties taxes are included, and in the absence of incentives in Ghana, but it will still be a decent price for a new car with the following specs:
- 26.8 kWh battery pack good for about 270 km on the NEDC cycle
- Top speed of 105 km/h
- 33 kW electric motor and 125 Nm of torque
- 6.6 kW on-board charger
- 0-80% DC fast charging in 50 minutes
This car would probably land at a price that’s much closer to the price in China if it was made available in Rwanda where the government has just introduced a lot of awesome new incentives. Electric vehicles, spare parts, batteries, and charging station equipment will all be exempted from import and excise duties. All of these would also be treated as zero-rated VAT products and will also be exempt from withholding tax. Now that’s a good deal!
It is really good to see that these types of vehicles are starting to come to Africa. I hope that more small city EVs, especially the ones that are even more affordable, such as the Changan BenBen EStar and similar vehicles, also start popping up in this part of the world. Maybe we could even start seeing some importers starting to bring in the blockbuster Wuling Hongguang Mini EV!
Featured image courtesy Renault
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