South Africa is witnessing a significant shift in its automotive industry. The country has seen a remarkable 127% surge in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), despite several challenges.
South Africans are increasingly showing interest in EVs. A landmark survey, AutoTrader’s 2023 South African Electric Vehicle Buyers Survey, revealed that the nation is keen on green motoring. The youth, particularly those between 24 and 35 years old, are most likely to be the early adopters of EVs.
However, there are certain conditions for this interest. South African car shoppers are inclined towards owning an electric vehicle only if it offers at least 500km of range and can charge to full capacity in under four hours.
While the high initial purchase price of EVs remains a talking point, it’s not the main deterrent anymore. The perception of the cost barrier has decreased by 3.4%, with 62% of respondents in 2023 considering it a drawback, down from 65.2% in 2022. This shift can be attributed to the introduction of more affordable new EV models in the market and the growth of the used EV car market.
The survey highlights two persistent challenges for EV adoption in South Africa: charging time and a lack of charging infrastructure. Respondents were clear about their expectations – 82% said they would consider purchasing an EV if it could be fully charged in under an hour at a fast charging station.
Practicality is another significant factor affecting EV adoption. Most South African buyers require a minimum range of 300km. A whopping 34% of survey respondents insisted on an electric car with a range of 500-700km, while 19.7% needed even more than 700km.
The Future of EVs in South Africa
Despite these challenges, there’s a positive outlook for used EVs, with 48.5% of respondents stating they would consider a used EV over a new one. Furthermore, according to a report by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), electric vehicle sales in Q1 2023 have already surpassed more than half of last year’s total sales.
However, it’s important to note that as long as the South African government depends heavily on fuel taxes, and the country’s national energy grid remains severely damaged, local adoption of electric vehicles will be slow and driven by corporates and a small wealthy population.
In conclusion, while there are still hurdles to overcome, the surge in electric vehicle adoption indicates a promising future for this sector in South Africa. With continued advancements and improvements in infrastructure, South Africa could soon see even higher rates of electric vehicle adoption.