Norway leads the world in terms of EV market share for new car sales. Last month, plug-in electric vehicles took 89.3% share of the auto market. Electric cars are now so mainstream in Norway that Tesla’s Model Y recently beat a 53-year-old sales record. In 1969, 16,699 Volkswagen Beetles were sold in Norway. No vehicle has had more sales in a single year in Norway since then, until now. Enter the Model Y. Over 16,700 Model Ys have been sold so far this year.
Seychelles, the 115-island archipelago in Africa of the western Indian Ocean where the average daily driving distance for the majority of car owners is said to be around 33 km per day, could be well positioned to follow and be the Norway of Africa and lead in EV adoption. Seychelles already has one of the highest motorization rates on the continent. Between 2000 and 2015, the total vehicle fleet in the country more than doubled, driven by the growth in private passenger cars. This growth raised the motorization rates in the country to about 176 vehicles per 1000 people. Whereas most African countries have very low motorization rates of less than 50 vehicles per 1000 people .
The Seychelles has a population of around 99,000 people. The country currently has the highest number of electric vehicles per capita on the continent, with more than 500 EVs on the road. To put that into perspective, South Africa, one of the largest economies on the continent with its population of about 50 million people, still has just about 1,000 EVs. Seychelles already has a target of 30% EVs for new private vehicle sales by 2030. Perhaps they should be more aggressive and aim for 80% of new cars to be electric by 2030. 2030 is 7 years away and can easily be done given the volume of cars sold in Seychelles per year. There are now more EV models available in the world right now than when the Norway revolution started. It should be easier and faster for Seychelles with the right incentives and environment.
Several official and unofficial dealerships for EVs have been active in the country for several years now. Some of these independent dealerships have Teslas for Tesla fans. Only vehicles that are less than 3 years old can be imported into the country. One of the prominent EV importers is Electric Motion. Hyundai has official representation in the Seychelles. A look the local website shows the Hyundai Kona EV and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are offered in the Seychelles. A lot of EVs in the country also come from India.
With Tata having quite a big presence in the country, the Seychelles could be the perfect place for Tata to look at when it starts to accelerate its EV export plans. Already, the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) operates a fleet of about 250 ICE buses of different configurations, and most of them are made by TATA Motors. Tata is well known in the country.
Although Tata is still ramping up production of its affordable passenger vehicle EVs in India and it already has a large market to address at home, Seychelles would have the advantage in that the volumes needed would not take away much from Tata’s need to first satisfy local demand. Annual car sales in the Seychelles for new passenger cars are around 2,000. Surely with the right framework in place, Tata could send 2,000 Tiago, Nexon, and Tigor EVs to Seychelles and not disturb supply for the Indian market. This could provide an opportunity for affordable EVs with decent range that is more than enough for the daily average of 33 km. An all-electric version of the Tata Tiago starts from just $10,000 in India. This price is almost at parity with the ICE version. The $10,000 model comes with a 19.2 kWh battery and 3.2 kW on board charger. Tata says this version has a range of 250 kilometers. A 24 kWh battery version with 315 kilometers of range and a 7.2 kW charger starts from $14,500. India could provide a source of affordable right-hand drive vehicles for Seychelles, until there are more right-hand drive options from China and other places.
Seychelles has just launched its national Electric Mobility Project. One of the first demonstration projects as part of the program is adding 22 electric buses to the SPTC fleet. Perhaps a similar project with fleet operators for electric cars could anchor electric car growth.
Image from TATA Motors
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