Govt, auto industry compiling position paper on EVs
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and the South African automotive industry have started work on a position paper regarding the role of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country’s domestic economy, says National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) CEO Mike Mabasa.
“We hope to have this paper ready by June next year.”
The drafting of the paper is being facilitated by economic research organisation TIPS.
EV sales in South Africa were just short of 150 vehicles in 2018, with the peak in 2016 at more than 250 vehicles.
EVs are, however, projected to make up around 50% of all global new light-duty-vehicle sales by 2040, up from 3% in 2020 and a projected 11% in 2025.
Around 58% of South Africa’s new vehicle production (of more than 610 00 units) in 2018, were exported.
Many of these vehicles went to markets that are planning to limit their uptake of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), or where customer preferences are shifting to zero-emission vehicles, such as EVs.
South Africa produces only ICE vehicles, with component production also, subsequently, largely focused on this sector.
Speaking at the Smarter Mobility Africa Conference in Pretoria, Mabasa said changes in carbon footprint targets in the European Union presented a risk to South Africa’s local production ambitions, which is to reach more than 1.4-million vehicles by 2035.
He said the position paper would focus on four areas, namely the regulatory environment for EVs; charging infrastructure and technology; benefits EVs could present to the environment; and the impact of the EV revolution on South Africa’s production of vehicles and automotive components.
Mabasa said the paper would have to produce an answer on EV car import duties, for example, which is at 25%, as opposed to 18% for an ICE car, and zero per cent for cars with engines smaller than 1 000 cc.
Other countries have incentives for the purchase of EVs, such as Norway, which stimulated demand by allowing EVs to travel toll-free, to park for free and to use the bus lanes, for example.
Mabasa said Naamsa wanted the 25% EV import duty reduced.
In drafting the paper, the focus would also be on the standardisation of charging infrastructure, he added, which is currently somewhat fragmented, as well as determining the role of South Africa’s energy grid in the rollout of EVs, and whether independent power producers could play a role here.
The paper would also seek to address whether it is possible to extend government’s Automotive Production and Development Programme to accommodate EV production.
Once the position paper was drafted, it was hoped that government and industry would move to implement its recommendations, noted Mabasa.