In 2018 alone, at least 1.6 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the United States, Europe and China, and the uptake is only set to increase.
This is according to Jaguar Land Rover South Africa network director and electrification team leader Brian Hastie, who says the ‘exponential growth’ in the uptake of electric vehicles globally will impact South Africa significantly, because as models are developed, they will become available to South African vehicle manufacturers and consumers.
South Africa currently has two brands of electric vehicles, the BMW i3 and i8 and the Nissan Leaf, but a new player is about to enter the market.
South African drivers will soon see Jaguar Land Rover’s Jaguar I-Pace, Range Rover plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and Range Rover Sport PHEV showing their smarts on the streets.
According to the Land Rover website, the vehicles’ prices range between R1 600 000 and R2 200 000. Land Rover’s PHEV battery capacity is 13kWh and is charged via an external source. When the vehicle is in EV mode, it delivers up to 48km from a full charge.
These vehicles are designed for the city and for short distances, but Hastie says the latest generation of electric vehicles are beginning to improve their range capability to enable longer distance driving.
The ‘BMW i’ electric vehicle was launched in South Africa in 2015 and, according to the group’s communication manager for SA and sub-Saharan Africa, Hailey Philander, at least 600 BMW i3 and i8 models have been sold to SA customers since launching. She added that on a global scale the brand sold more than 140 000 electrified vehicles in 2018.
The company is expecting to have a combined 500 000 electrified vehicles on South Africa’s roads by the end of 2019.
The BMW i3, if charged by a DC fast charger, can be charged from 0% to 80% in around 45 minutes. It needs about 13.4kWh battery capacity for 100km. Accordingly, the cost per 100km for a BMWi3 is R18.09. The vehicle itself is priced between R600 000 and R740 000.
Philander told Moneyweb that BMW plans to launch a bigger battery pack for the i3 in South Africa shortly, which will allow for a full electric range of around 270km.
The Nissan Leaf was introduced to South Africa in 2013. Without revealing how many Leafs have been purchased to date locally, the company confirmed to Moneyweb its plan to roll out an all-new Nissan Leaf to the South African market in a phased approach.
Nissan SA MD Mike Whitfield says Nissan will begin with a focused pilot programme in 2019 and will work with stakeholders to establish the necessary environment for the complete introduction of EVs and related technologies from 2020.