South Africa to focus on shift to low-emission and electric cars from 2030

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment says that South Africa will make a push towards low-emission vehicles in the 2030s.

The department’s climate change plans are included in the draft Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which was published for public consultation at the end of March.

The NDC is seen as the ‘cornerstone’ of South Africa’s climate change response and includes the country’s commitments to the UN and Paris Agreement for the global climate change effort.

It also details the government’s proposed shift away from harmful greenhouse gas emissions to more sustainable fuel sources.

The NDC states that the long-term decarbonisation of the South African economy, will in the 2020s, focus primarily on the electricity sector.

This will give it time to introduce new renewable energy sources through the IRP programme and give the country time to recover after the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the 2030s, a deeper transition will take place in the electricity sector, coupled with a transition in the transport sector towards low emission vehicles.

The NDC also pledges to introduce a number of green transport options in the road and rail sector.

“South Africa will invest in energy efficiency, a range of green transport measures including electric and hybrid vehicles, mode shifting and the enhanced provision of safe and affordable public transport.

“All of these measures will be accompanied by just transition programmes to ensure that the costs of these measures to workers and communities are minimised and the benefits maximized,” the department said.

International push 

Both governments and carmakers have pledged to phase out traditional petrol cars over the next decade as a means of cutting down on harmful emissions.

The UK has announced its plans to introduce a ban on the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars from 2030, with the country needing to introduce an additional 35,000 charging points a year to meet this target.

The European Union is also facing increasing calls to introduce a firm date to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars so that the region meets its aim of becoming climate-neutral.

“If you take into account the lifetime of cars, you just need to stop adding new fossil fuel cars around 2030 if you want to be carbon neutral in 2050,” Stientje van Veldhoven, Dutch state secretary for infrastructure, told Bloomberg in March.

Last month car manufacturer Volvo announced that it aims to go fully electric by 2030, and will phase out all car models with internal combustion engines – including hybrids.

“At Volvo our customers expect high levels of us when it comes to human safety and they are starting to expect exactly the same thing when it comes to planetary safety, we aim to live up to that, it’s the right thing to do,” Bjorn Annwall, head of Europe for Volvo, told the BBC.

“The fully electric premium segment will be the fastest-growing part of the automotive market, so it’s very natural to focus on that.”

Read: You’ll now pay R313 tax every time you fill up with petrol

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South Africa to focus on shift to low-emission and electric cars from 2030