The 2022 Festival of Motoring was recently held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mercedes-Benz South Africa was exhibiting the EQ range at the festival. On show were the EQA, EQB, EQC, and the EQS. All of these models are already available in South Africa. The EQE will be available in South Africa a bit later.
I really like these exhibitions. These kinds of exhibitions are really good for raising awareness and getting people to appreciate the beauty of electric mobility. Speaking at the Festival of Motoring event and exhibition, Mayur (Miles) Bhana, General Manager Marketing and Communications at Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa, says the response has been overwhelming. People that attended the FOM and got to drive them were amazed at the overall performance of the all-electric EQ range. They were particularly impressed with the range of the range-topping EQS. The EQS is the range king with around 700 km of range.
There was a lot of curiosity and a thirst for more knowledge on electric vehicles. There is a lot more interest now in the South African market when it comes to electric vehicles, and with the skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices, it’s a good time to bring electric vehicles to South Africa. The EQS starts from R2.5 million ($141,000), which his pretty competitive with the ICE S-Class, which starts at R2.2million ($124,000). What’s an extra $17,000 or so? Not much for those rolling in the S-Class league.
The Mercedes-Benz brand is loved in this part of the world. Owning a Mercedes-Benz is viewed as a status symbol. Mercedes already has an existing network of partners and dealerships in many countries in Africa. It’s really good to see the EQ range launching in South Africa, and I hope to see it being introduced in other African markets.
The introduction of all electric Mercedes-Benz models with a range of around 700 km, such as the EQS, will go a long way in transforming mobility in an important and very influential market segment on the continent. Here, we are talking about government, diplomatic, business and VIP fleets. As key policymakers and users of electric vehicles, it may incentivize them to formulate pro-EV policies across the continent to the benefit of their constituents. They will also be jolted into action to install charging stations at government facilities, offices, and other public places, and in the process building a charging network that can be opened to the public visiting these facilities. This could also encourage other workers at those facilities and well as other users to also buy electric vehicles.
Most of the cars in these government fleets are often replaced after 3 or so years, after a certain mileage or whichever comes first. Some of these vehicles will then find themselves on the used vehicle market after the owners receive their upgrades. This can be a positive thing in this case, as the inventory of electric vehicles on the secondhand market will grow. The vehicles will now be available a price point more palatable for other tiers of potential buyers.
Hotels, resorts, and their shuttle service providers, including car rental service fleet operators, also usually have a large fleet of Mercedes vehicles. These usually shuttle their guests from airports, to shopping malls, and to their business meetings in this class of luxury vehicles. They can now have the option to upgrade to electric models from Mercedes-Benz. These operators will help catalyze the installation of destination chargers at their hotels and at airports to charge the vehicles in between trips. Governments, business executives, and diplomats in this part of the world should lead by example and drive electric. Now that there are electric premium luxury vehicles such as the EQ range available right now, they really should immediately jump into the age of electric.
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