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South Africa’s uYilo e-Mobility Program Is Celebrating 10 Years Of Promoting Electric Mobility

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South Africa’s uYilo e-mobility program is a multi-stakeholder, collaborative program focused on enabling, facilitating, and mobilizing electric mobility in South Africa. This March, uYilo e-Mobility Programme is celebrating a decade of enabling and facilitating the ecosystem for electric mobility in South Africa. The program was established in March 2013 as an initiative of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (then the Department of Science and Technology), with the focus of mobilizing the transition to electric mobility in South Africa.

Since then, uYilo has led in many initiatives in the South African electric mobility sector, including startup funding, cutting edge research pilots in areas such as V2G, and overall thought leadership. uYilo has a partnership with Nissan which dates back to 2013, when the eMobility Programme was established. Part of this collaboration has enabled uYilo to showcase the LEAF in demonstrating V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) and V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) possibilities over the years.

Celebrating the program’s successes over the past 10 years, Mr Patrick Krappie, Acting-CEO of the Technology Innovation Agency, said, “TIA would like to congratulate the management, staff, and stakeholders who have been involved, in varying degrees, with uYilo over the past 10 years. Investing in uYilo was an ambitious forward-thinking undertaking which has paid off for all parties involved.”

“As a national programme, uYilo has made significant contributions, from enterprise and skills development, to wider market-enabling initiatives on policies, regulations, and standards in reducing market barriers for technology uptake. This aligns with the strategic approach of leveraging partnerships and collaborations that has seen TIA invest in more than just specific projects but make an impact in economic value chains and ecosystems.”

“The energy and e-Mobility landscape has changed significantly in the past ten years, and we are proud to have made an investment into the ecosystem, infrastructure and skills development that will see South Africa compete on an equal footing with similar economies. E-mobility represents an important core pillar of the Just Energy Transition. Through continued investments in uYilo, TIA is committed to supporting the growth of this industry, working with all key partners in the NSI,” says Krappie.

The uYilo e-Mobility Programme has created wide networks and built relationships within the e-mobility and related industries in South Africa and internationally, to encourage robust growth focused on utilizing local resources, and creating critical skills within this dynamic new industry.

“There have been many developments and great strides that have taken place in the past decade,” says uYilo Director, Hiten Parmar. “Much of the advancement and development of this fast-evolving industry has taken place behind the scenes. The groundwork in both the private and public sector has required consultation and knowledge development on every level, in order to lay the foundation for this diverse industry that will affect and inform our lives for generations.”

“uYilo has achieved significant milestones in this past decade, establishing an accredited battery testing laboratory, providing materials testing and characterisation services, and a live testing environment for electric vehicles within the smart grid ecosystem. We have also provided opportunities for more than 45 interns over this period, providing them in-service industry training,” says Parmar. “Another highlight is the annual uYilo Kick Start Fund which focuses on growing local products and services in the e-Mobility space towards their commercialization, with the aim of growing the local e-Mobility industry.” The Kick Start Fund has played a key role in the development of new e-mobility ventures currently serving the active electric vehicle market.

“A vital aspect of the transition to e-Mobility is establishing local competence, expertise and industry so that we are not solely reliant on imports – and that locally manufactured products and services find acceptance in international markets. South Africa cannot be an exporter of raw materials and an importer of finished product. In order to boost local employment and investment, we need to encourage and enable local industry, creating our own e-Mobility ecosystem,” says Parmar.

Images from uYilo

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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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