South Africa needs cheaper electric cars ASAP!

South Africa needs cheaper electric cars ASAP!

South Africa’s Autotrader Car Industry Report Semi-Annual Report January 2022 – June 2022 has just been released. In the first 6 months of this year, 349 million searches for vehicles were made on the Autotrader website. There were 163 million views of consumer ads and the average time spent on the site was 5 minutes and 50 seconds. The average mileage of the cars on the site was 77,147 km at an average price of 423,964 Rand ($25,000). The average annual model for vehicles listed on the platform was 2017. In 2022, electric vehicles have been listed 141 times so far, recording an average price of R1,870,721 ($111,000) and mileage of 21,313 km. The average year model was 2020. The most commonly available models were the BMW i3, Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron.

The report also finds that the number of car buyers using the fuel filter increased by 27% year-on-year. In the past, fuel type was a secondary search filter used primarily by car buyers looking to buy pickups. This increase is due to skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices. In the first half of 2022, searches for hybrid and electric fuels increased by 129% and 100%, respectively, indicating strongly growing interest in electric cars in South Africa. Searches for diesel and gasoline fuel rose a more modest 24% and 26%, respectively. The reports say it is very important to note that this surge in electric vehicle searches is coming from a much smaller base than the traditional fuel types of petrol and diesel. The most searched electric vehicle in South Africa was the Audi RS e-tron GT, followed by the BMW i3, the Porsche Taycan, the Audi e-tron and the Audi e-tron GT.

A survey included in last year’s report showed that over 70% of South Africans would be interested in switching to electric vehicles if they had the opportunity to purchase an electric vehicle that costs less than R500,000 ($30,000). But as we can see from the prices of the top 10 most listed electric cars, only one of them costs less than R500,000, a 7-year-old Nissan Leaf at R385,000. This is a first generation Nissan Leaf. Nissan has since stopped offering the Nissan Leaf in this market. The most listed electric vehicle is the BMW i3 for R667,000. The majority of electric vehicles available in the South African market are from premium brands, with models starting at well over $100,000. These vehicles will still be quite expensive when they eventually end up on the used car market. There is an average price difference of $86,000 between ICE vehicles ($25,000) and electric vehicles ($111,000).

Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in South Africa have been quite slow over the years. The table below shows EV sales over the last 6 years. South Africa desperately needs more affordable vehicles to get more people to drive electric.

Source: naamsa/Lightstone Auto

Let’s hope that more affordable electric vehicles will come out soon. More right hand drive models are now available in places like Australia. The BYD Atto 3 and the MG ZS EV are some examples. The new MG 4 Hatchback is coming to the UK, starting at around £25,000 which is only around R500,000! Will we see these models coming to South Africa anytime soon?

Charts from South Africa’s Autotrader Car Industry Report Semi-Annual Report January 2022 – June 2022


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