Many think that electric cars are just a gimmick and will run out of juice on the way somewhere without a way to charge it. In South Africa, this might still be true, but other countries have embraced electric cars and they are slowly replacing combustion vehicles.
In Europe, for instance, statistics from September showed that for the first time electric cars outsold diesel cars. They projected to account for 10% of all car sales in 2020 and it is thought that this will be 15% in 2021.
However, in Africa, the adoption of electric cars is extremely slow with an estimated access rate to electricity of just 43%.
A survey conducted by AutoTrader and Generation.e showed that only 2% of South African consumers own an electric vehicle and just 13% have driven one. But George Mienie, CEO of Autotrader says there is still hope and believes that they will gain popularity.
On the 28th of October 2020, the findings of the survey were shown to the public by the Smarter Mobility Africa e-event. The survey aimed to show insights into the perceptions, penetration, expectations, awareness and purchase intent of South Africans about electric vehicles.
Key Highlights of the Survey
1. 61% said that the biggest drawbacks of electric vehicles is the charging infrastructure and 60% said that the charging time is the biggest pain.
2. 67% said that they would be willing to pay for an electric vehicle upfront as the running costs were lower than traditional cars.
3. 26% said that the range was an issue but insisted that they would only buy an electric vehicle if it a high range. 39% said they would think about buying an electric car that had a range of 300 – 500km and 44% said they would prefer a range of 500km or more.
4. 68% said they were likely to buy an electric vehicle in the future and 74% said they would buy one in the next 5 years. 56% said they would likely buy a BMW, 42% said they would go for a Tesla and 36% opted for Mercedes.
George Mienie said that hopefully, these survey results would lead to a cleaner, greener and mutually beneficial to both the automotive industry and the consumer in South Africa.
There are many reasons as to why electric vehicles will most probably be the future, but we will have to see how fast these vehicles will be embraced in South Africa.