The world of mobility is rapidly evolving worldwide. Technological developments are notably enabling the diversification of drivetrains, away from traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) towards electric and other alternative motors. While EVs still account for a marginal share of global vehicle sales, the shift is evident in leading markets. All forecasts point to an exponential growth of EVs in the coming decades.The world of mobility is rapidly evolving worldwide. Technological developments are notably enabling the diversification of drivetrains, away from traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) towards electric and other alternative motors. While EVs still account for a marginal share of global vehicle sales, the shift is evident in leading markets. All forecasts point to an exponential growth of EVs in the coming decades.
Heightened environmental regulations, linked to climate change mitigation and air quality improvement, have initiated the transition to cleaner forms of transportation. Policy impetus, such as support programmes and tight environmental targets, are now driving the market globally. In addition, favourable economics, which see EVs being increasingly cheaper to own than petroleum-based cars over their lifetime, and consumer experience, linked to the connectivity, reactivity and usage experience of the vehicles, are supporting the transformation.
South Africa lags behind this global trend. EVs remain extremely marginal, be it from an offer, demand or manufacturing perspective. As heralded by government and industry alike, it is, however, the ambition of the country to rapidly enter this space. While a coherent policy environment is lacking, the country’s Green Transport Strategy sets out government’s vision to radically grow the uptake of EVs in South Africa. As with every transition, the emergence of EVs brings disruptions, calling for the need to adequately manage the transition. In the short term, this requires supporting the development of the sector, both from a market development and manufacturing perspective, through a coherent policy framework consistent with South Africa’s domestic context. This report aims to inform this transition in the South African context.
The time for S Africa to shift to EV production is now, says TIPS report - Irma Venter, Engineering News 20 August 2020
This policy brief aims to support the South African Presidency and Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in their deliberations on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the South African automotive industry. It has been compiled from secondary readings, the author’s own industry knowledge, two CEO interviews (one OEM and one component manufacturer), and five written submissions from firms/industry stakeholders, which were submitted in lieu of interviews. The findings presented are consequently exploratory, although the consistency of responses from across the interviews and written submissions suggests a broad and generic set of impacts and associated consequences for the South African automotive industry.
The answers to four key questions were solicited from the interviews, written submissions and secondary readings. This policy brief follows the structure of these four questions, first exploring the manner in which the industry has been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown; then looking at industry plans for reopening, given identified challenges in domestic and export markets; followed by industry perceptions of the potential for recovery; an exploration of critical issues for potential government support for the industry during the recovery phase; and conclusions.
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