South Africa: SA Motor Industry Needs to Put Foot On Electric Vehicles

Cars used in the 2019 Electric Vehicle Road Trip (file photo).

The UK's commitment to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 to combat climate change means South Africa's automotive industry needs to shift gears, and fast.

News that the UK plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine-powered (ICE) vehicles from 2030 (and hybrids from 2035) might simplistically be dismissed as "First World problems". However, if 6.4% of your GDP comes from vehicle manufacturing and your largest export market is the UK, this requires pause for thought.

The UK's moving deadline mirrors the aggressive move to electric vehicles (EVs) in the EU. In the bloc, incentives to move motorists into diesel cars in order to reduce carbon emissions had the unexpected side effect of creating health problems related to the particulate and NOx emissions. As a result, France has said it will ban the sale of ICE cars in 2035, and Germany in 2030 as well.

Dr Norman Lamprecht, National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) executive for trade, exports and research, says three out of every four cars exported from SA go to the EU and the UK. In 2019, more than 100,000 cars built in SA were...

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