Compared to similar markets around the world, South Africa has a small selection of electric vehicle models available for consumers to buy. This has contributed to the slow electric vehicles sales in the country. For a very long time, the only BEV that was available for consumers in South Africa to buy was the BMW i3. Since the launch of the i3 in South Africa around 2015, BMW has been the leader in terms of continuously adding new EV models in the South African market. The BMW iX1, iX3, i4, iX, and flagship i7 as well as the Mini Cooper SE are all offered in the South African market. However, the selection of battery-electric vehicles available in South Africa has been improving slowly, lifting sales slightly in recent years. Sales of EVs are still very low though, with less than 300 BEVs per year having been sold in South Africa over the last couple of years. Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo, and Jaguar have also joined the party and now offer several BEV models in South Africa.
Of all the models available in South Africa, only the Mini Cooper SE starts from below R1 million ($57,000). The Mini Cooper SE is currently the cheapest BEV in South Africa at around R700,000 ($41,000). However, it’s a low range EV compared to several other EVs on the global market with a real world range of about 180 km. The absence of cheaper electric vehicles in the market has also been one of the major barriers to adoption.
Could this situation change soon? Well, it will change sometime this year, as reports from South Africa say there are quite a few more exciting models that are expected to be launched in the country this year, including Ora’s Good Cat! The Ora Good Cat is known as the Funky Cat in the United Kingdom. It is quite common for cars to take different names in different markets. Great Wall Motors (GWM), the company behind the Ora brand, is well established in South Africa with its range of ICE pickup trucks having been on the market for years and which are doing quite well, including the newer P Series range of pickups.
Another one of GWM’s brands that has entered the South African market and has done extremely well with its ICE compact SUVs and SUVs is Haval. This got me thinking, it could be a good idea for GWM to bring in the Good Cat and Good Cat GT under the Haval Brand. Perhaps calling them the Haval Cat and Haval Cat GT or something could be one way of looking at it. Riding on a brand that is already doing well plus an affordable price could help catalyze BEV sales in South Africa.
Estimates are that the Good Cat is expected to retail in South Africa for around R600,000 ($35,000), which would make it the most affordable fully-electric model in the country. This pricing will be in line with the pricing of the Good Cat in Malaysia were the 400 Pro is priced from RM139,800 ($32,000) while the 500 Ultra is priced from RM169,800 ($39,000). The Pro version of the Good Cat is has a 47.8 kWh battery giving a real world range of about 275 km according to EV-database. The over version has a larger 63.1 kWh. So, a 5-door hatchback with more range than the current version of the Mini could enter the market and become South Africa’s cheapest EV, displacing the Mini Cooper SE. This could really be a game-changer in South Africa’s EV market and help accelerate sales.
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