Electric cars failing to create major spark in SA

The Nissan Leaf was the first electric car launched in South Africa Picture: Waldo Swiegers / Sunday Times
The Nissan Leaf was the first electric car launched in South Africa
Picture: Waldo Swiegers / Sunday Times

A lack of infrastructure and hefty price tags could be some of the reasons why electric cars are not selling like hot cakes in South Africa.

“Electric cars are not popular as the infrastructure to support the vehicles is not in place‚” said Cindy Beets of Lightstone Auto‚ which provides new vehicle sales data to the South African motor industry.

“Hybrid vehicles are mostly in the higher price bands therefore we wouldn’t expect large sales volumes.

“Further the derivative range‚ as well as their spread across the different segments and body shapes‚ is also spread a little thin; consumers do not have a wide variety to choose from‚” she said.

Beets said there were only two 100% electric cars sold in South Africa. They are the BMW i3 and Nissan LEAF. The BMW sells for R556‚500 and the Nissan LEAF‚ for R474‚900.

In 2013 and 2014‚ only the Nissan Leaf was sold in the country. A total of 34 were sold in 2013 and 14 in 2014.

In 2015‚ 82 BMW i3s and 35 Nissan’s were sold. Since launching in March 2015‚ 135 BMWi3s have been sold‚ according to BMW Group SA.

Out of approximately 115‚000 vehicles sold in the country so far this year‚ 24 have been electric. “You could derive that sales are not doing well‚” said Beets.

Asked why‚ she said: “We could speculate that it has to do with availability of charge points‚ infrastructure in South Africa‚ cost of the vehicles and lack of choices available.”

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