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South Africa: Things you need to know about the EV market

In the past weeks, Eskom and the major players in the electric vehicle (EV) market in South Africa met to discuss how to unlock the EV potential locally – given the massive growth in this sector globally.

Indications are that the drive to reduce fuel-powered cars is growing exponentially:

  • The UK has announced that 60% of all cars and small vans need to be electric vehicles by 2032 and completely carbon free by 2035. 
  • Volvo Cars has announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric or hybrid motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE).
  • EVs and hybrid EVs will account for an estimated 30% of all vehicle sales by 2025. 

According to Eskom, about 1,000 EVs have been sold in South Africa since 2015 – the pace being much slower than Europe and China. 

Some of the factors limiting the growth of this market are:

  • Price of EVs due to 45% import taxes and duties on EVs
  • Range that you can travel with an EV on one battery charge
  • Access to electricity to charging facilities

Slow adoption of EVs

Eskom is actively involved in the EV sector as the primary electricity supplier for vehicle charging. 

Eskom’s main objective is to craft special tariffs for EV owners to charge their vehicles at off-peak times, thereby helping to flatten the demand patterns outside peak periods and ensure affordable power for EV owners. 

Those concerned about Eskom’s ability to supply the necessary electricity need not worry – even a massive growth in EVs will not have a major impact on the overall demand during any normal day, the power utility assured. 

Research on battery storage

Meanwhile, Eskom says it is making progress in its research on photovoltaic and battery storage options to power EVs in the future.

Stakeholders involved are Eskom, car manufacturers, NGOs such as uYilo, EVRT Africa and GridCars, various major metros such as Cape Town and Johannesburg and government departments such as Trade & Industry, Transport and Environmental Affairs. 

The goal is ultimately to come up with a country solution regarding electric transport.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.