VW launches electric mobility pilot project in SA

DRIVE OF THE FUTURE: A pilot project by VWSA will see six fully electric vehicles being tested by motoring and lifestyle media, selected dealers and Volkswagen employees
DRIVE OF THE FUTURE: A pilot project by VWSA will see six fully electric vehicles being tested by motoring and lifestyle media, selected dealers and Volkswagen employees
Image: SUPPLIED

SA has become the second country in Africa to use Volkswagen electric vehicles.

This has been done through the e-Golf pilot project which will see six fully electric vehicles being tested by motoring and lifestyle media, selected dealers as well as VW employees.

The project hopes to gain crucial consumer insights into the varying experiences of driving and living with an electric vehicle in SA.

Through the involvement of selected VW dealers in Gauteng and Western Cape, the e-Golf pilot project seeks to drive customer awareness and education regarding electric vehicles.

The e-Golfs will be used as shuttles and courtesy cars for Volkswagen customers.

VW SA sales and marketing director Mike Glendinning said the project was a key initiative for the brand.

“With the help of our dealers, we want to get as many South Africans as possible to drive and experience an electric vehicle as this is the future of our brand,” he said.

The project includes charging infrastructure installed in Volkswagen’s Uitenhage manufacturing plant and as well as the Dealer Training Academy in Centurion, Gauteng.

The project is the first step of a three-phase approach which will pave the way for Volkswagen to include electric vehicles in its future product portfolio in SA.

The second phase will be expanded to include a fleet of fully electric Volkswagen ID.3 vehicles from next year.

The last phase will see the first fully electric Volkswagen vehicles available for sale to customers in SA from 2022.

The e-Golf as well as the ID.3 will not be available for sale in SA and will be used solely for the purposes of ensuring as many South Africans as possible get to experience life with an electric vehicle.

Meanwhile, new-vehicle sales last year were 536,626 units, a decline of 15,601 units (2.8%) from 552,227 new cars sold in 2018.

Continued economic woes and lower consumer confidence are among the reasons cited for the weakened performance.

Industry experts have begun casting their predictions for 2020 and the sentiment is careful optimism with the outlook a continued decline.

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