With the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, the continuing uncertainty of crude oil prices, and the increasing competition in a slow-growing economy, electric vehicles have gained a great deal of interest as an alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles.
Electric Vehicles in South Africa
Electric vehicles have been warmly welcomed across the globe. According to a 2019 report of the Bloomberg NEF Electric Vehicle Outlook, global electric vehicle sales stood at 2 million in 2018. It is predicted that this number will grow to 10 million by 2025, 28 million by 2030 and 56 million by 2040. This increase is driven primarily by commitments to reduce CO2 emissions, growing concerns about urban air pollution, and continued volatility of crude oil prices.
But while adoption of electric cars keeps rising globally, South Africa is still lagging behind. Unlike in 2013, however, when the Nissan Leaf was the only EV available on the market, some progress is being made as some major car manufacturing companies have now introduced new EV models into the country. These are the BMW i3 and the Jaguar I-PACE in particular. Moreover, another EV model, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, is expected to hit the SA market this year.
On the other hand, the country’s EV sales are beginning to grow. In March last year, former Minister of Transport Blade Ndzimande said the total number of registered electric cars in the country has risen from 375 to 867. This number is expected to increase in the near future as the roll out increases.
Conditions Pushing for Adoption of Electric Vehicles in SA
The Paris Agreement
Although the adoption of EV’s in SA is moving slowly, the country has an obligation to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The agreement, which was adopted in 2016, identifies the transport sector as one of the areas to be addressed by signatories because of its heavy reliance on fossil fuels. In this regard, electric vehicles provide a safe alternative to reduce the environmental impact of internal combustion engine vehicles.
Volatile Crude Oil Prices
South Africa has a solid fuel-driven vehicle industry. The vehicles are not only sold in the country, but they are also manufactured – contributing 6.9% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) with 4.4% attributable to manufacturing and 2.5% to retail. But, due to the uncertainty of the price of crude oil, high dependence on fuel poses a risk to the country and its citizens. Just last year, South African motorist felt the pinch when petrol prices increased from R13.79 for 93 grade petrol and R14.01 for 95 grade petrol in January 2019 to R15.88 and R16.30 respectively by the end of the year. Against this background, EVs are now seen as an attractive alternative that can help lower the country’s import bill of crude oil.
Read more on how to increase your fuel efficiency with MyGeotab.
The Ailing Economy of the Country
Fixing South Africa’s battling economy has been on the agenda for a considerable length of time now. National Treasury statistics show that the country’s GDP growth rate slowed in 2018 from 1.3% in 2017 to an estimated 0.7% – growing at a rate that is below its expected rate as well as below its population growth.
According to South African Market Insights, some of the main problems that keep the country’s economy from growing at expected levels are “restrictive labour laws and unemployment, poor economic policy by the government, poorly run state-owned companies, and corruption.” This has created a high level of uncertainty in the South African logistics market, along with the rapidly rising fuel costs. Therefore, transitioning to electric vehicles offers the opportunity for fleets to save substantial amounts of money, particularly in relation to fuel.
The Benefits of Using EVs as your Fleet
- Saving on running costs as it requires no fuel budget
- Service/Maintenance is inexpensive since EVs do not require expensive engine work.
- Reduced emissions leading to an environmentally friendly fleet
- Majority of EVs are made of eco-friendly materials
- Low risk of serious fires or explosions
- Easy to power from local and renewable energy sources
- EVs move a lot more quietly, reducing noise pollution
Telematics Solutions to Help You Switch to Electric Vehicles
To help our customers seamlessly transition to EV’s, Geotab offers an EV Suitability Assessment to help its customers determine which EVs are right for their fleet. This is done by comparing their existing fleet telematics data to real-world EV performance data to help them gain insights on which vehicles can meet the customers range requirements and will bode well.
Geotab also has a dedicated electric vehicle telematics system that it provides through the acquisition of FleetCarma. FleetCarma is an award-winning information and technology company that provides solutions to manage and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. The solutions offered include tracking driving patterns, power consumption, battery charging status, locating and booking charging stations, and planning optimal routes to get the most out of the range of your EV.
Read more on what you need to know about EV fleet management.
Author: The Geotab Africa Team
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