mobile menu mobile search

Why South Africa is not ready for electric cars

Why South Africa is not ready for electric cars

Financial services firm, Deloitte, has released its annual automotive consumer study detailing what the average South African motorists think about advanced in-vehicle technology and electric cars in the country.

The survey was sent via email to 22,078 consumers worldwide (16 years old and up), following a unique sample plan designed to be nationally representative of the overall population in each country.

While South Africans were some of the most likely to splash out on expensive technologies within their vehicles, the findings also showed that SA motorists are a long way off as to what to expect from electric vehicles currently on the market.

According to the South Africans surveyed, 55% of motorists are willing to wait a maximum of only 1 hour to fully charge an all-battery powered electric vehicle. In comparison, it currently takes 3-4 hours to fully charge an electric vehicle at super-charging stations and 6-8 hours at home.

In addition more than half want a minimum distance of more than 400 kilometers from a fully charged electric vehicle while studies show that the majority of electric vehicles currently on the market can only handle between 120 km – 320 km on a single charge.

This data echoes concerns amongst South African motor analysts who believe that the country is not prepared for alternative-fuel cars from a infrastructure standpoint.

“We don’t see a lot of electric vehicles on the road, so that shows that somehow people do not know that these vehicles are available now on our market and honestly speaking I haven’t seen any advert for these vehicles from the vehicle dealers,”said Demand Response and Energy Efficiency Program Manager at the  (CSIR), Dr Peter Mukoma speaking to the SABC.

“The other thing is there is  range anxiety, people are scared of getting stuck on the road with discharged batteries  without any chance of recharging them , so South Africa is not ready from the infrastructure point of view.

There are a number of charging stations that are coming up in shopping malls and office parks, other than that we haven’t seen charging infrastructure on the high ways, this is something that obviously has to be taken care of,” he concluded.


Read: New proposed traffic laws in Gauteng are just another way to grab your money: JPSA


BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
TAGS: Headline
Join the Conversation
  • Hiren Patel

    Charging stations will be high crime target points in SA.

    • Born-again-Atheist

      Like petrol stations or parking lots are?

      • Hiren Patel

        Yeah, electric cars are worth more, the panels themselves could be worth a bit, and cars have to be left there a long while.

  • SciCoPathix

    The new e-GP will drive the development of more efficient electric cars, Andy batteries, so in years to come range will improve. Batteries will still need to be charged though…

  • James Dean

    Charging times are ridiculously long. Why not put solar panels on the roof?

    • Born-again-Atheist

      Given the efficiency of solar panels currently (15-25%) there is not enough surface area.

      • 小杜 (xiao du)

        Agree – probably be able to get about 300W in panels on the roof of a car, so 1.5KW-2KW a day out at best. Won’t do much for adding range.

        Adding panels on the house roof on the other hand, well worth it.

      • Lacrimose Wolfe

        Hmm where I work there are acres of car park standing in the sun from 8-4:30, 9-5. Few move in the intervening hrs. That’s 8hrs of charging, gratis.

        • 小杜 (xiao du)

          Again, probably be able to get about 300W in panels on the roof of a car, so 1.5KW-2KW a day out at best. Won’t do much for adding range.

          Now covering the car park in shade ports with solar panels on top, and providing a number of charge stations that electric cars could use would work.

  • S’nyakanyak

    I don’t think that’s the problem. All available electric cars fall in the luxury car range at a much too high price.
    An electric car in the range of eg. the Datsun Go might be more attractive.

  • Khalsa S

    According to the South Africans surveyed, 55% of motorists are willing to wait a maximum of only 1 hour to fully charge an all-battery powered electric vehicle.”

    Yes…….. I can imagine how I will stand in line at charging stations just for the priviledge of spending 1-4h charging my car, instead of 5 min filling up on cheaper and cleaner petrol/diesel/gas.

    FYI…..how long will it take to charge trucks and ships?
    And where will all the lithium for the batteries come from?

    • 小杜 (xiao du)

      Or, like most people with electric cars, you just charge at home each night when you get home, so its always “topped up”.
      Newer models have 300km+ range, so its not like you need to charge more than once a week anyway.

      Beats spending 30 minutes filling with petrol (10 min to petrol station, 5-10 min wait/fill/pay, 10 min back home).

      • Khalsa S

        No thanks……. I fill up once or twice a week anyway and dont mind stretching my legs or taking a plss every 300km, so filling up for 10 min is ideal and the value chain exists already.
        Home charging only works when ure in your own garage and not parked out on the street or parking bay

        • Joe Black

          Everybody has their own requirements. Electric as it stands will not make sense for you. It will however make a lot of sense for me to have a car charging only from a solar panel since I drive less than 5km a day 95% of the time. I’d still have to have a IC engine car for long distances, but my commute would be free.

          • Khalsa S

            Electric as it stands makes no sense for 99.9% of the transportation market, which means why we are being forced by gubments (lobbied by renewable investors) to subsidize that shlt.

            Small wonder Elon Musk is now working on space travel.

          • Joe Black

            Are you from the US?

          • Ubaba meet Baba

            I bet you love Ancient Aliens?

    • MK

      You do realise that you will have to go 750km before even thinking of charging your car. Oh and when you get home you just plug it in . Meaning you probably never have to visit a charge station unless your travelling further than I don’t know 750 km. That’s a hectic trip. And fyi superchargers now take 30 to 20 minutes to fill to almost full. These figures are outdated. No oil changes no clutch changes . No brake changes. All the filters . Spark plugs. Cars cost way more to maintain than electric cars. And their much slower

      • Fanandala

        What your are writing there sounds a bit utopian.
        There is no electric car that does a anywhere near 750 k. More common is less than half at this time. And even the quick charging stations take an hour to charge the batteries up to 80%. No brake changes????
        And then of course batteries won’t last forever, and they are not cheap either.
        I can sell a 10 year old car without problems. Who is going to buy a car with a 10 year old battery that will cost you a small fortune when it needs to be replaced.

        • MK

          I stand corrected the Epa rating for a Tesla model s 100D is 335 miles . Which is 540 km of normal driving. Tesla model s p85D which is the older smaller battery version has set a record of 452 miles (730 km ) going 40 km per hour. You almost never have to use your breaks to slow down because of regenerative braking so you breaks last up to 7 times longer . And you can sell the car back to Tesla after a set couple of years . They will buy your car reuse the battery for power walls put a new battery and the car is good as new . They have very good support service and it’s easy for them and cheap to revamp the car . There are not many components to worry about hence by design it’s easily the most reliable peace of techntechnology out there . I mean till now internal combustion engines are catching fire. The car comes with so much safety to prevent a crash and even be more survivable then the Volvo in a crash . People are just afraid of change . The value of the car will not stop as quickly as most petrol cars especially with such maintenance support from tesla

  • the-TRUTH

    I prefer a hybrid than a 100% electric vehicle

  • Sotja

    A combination of a solar charger should help. Why must it be charged for so long while it driven in the sun.

  • MK

    Wait a second , 4 hours at a supercharger????!!!!!!! . Last I checked it’s 1 hour from empty and 20 minutes for the first 150 miles. They are a lot more convenient and cheaper than this article has made them out to be. And they surveyed 22000 people? That’s a pretty large percentage of the population how come I didn’t hear anything about this survey . Did anyone commenting here get the survey. I hate it when popular opinion and statistics are swayed by the few rich tycoons in order to keep taking advantage of the general consumers. The only thing stopping electric cars is charging infrastructure and cost of purchase which is rapidly going down. We are being taken for a ride. And the cost of normal cars just keep getting worse and worse. All hidden inside instalments. (300000 for a 1 litre baseline polo ) . I guess were pretty good at bending over to private companies.

  • Imperius

    It’s not about “ready” it’s about preparing… do you think SA will still have fuel driven cars when all fuel is gone? just because they aren’t ready yet?

  • Andreas Cambitsis

    S’nyakanyak is on the mark here. The issue is the price more than anything else. That will change over the next 2 years. I drive an i3 and the freedom of not having to go to a petrol station is awesome. I don’t care how long my car takes to charge because it charges whilst I’m sleeping or at the office. Yes long distance travel is an issue in SA, but Tesla has already solved that issue in the US and Europe (they have covered 98% of the US population with their super charger network). You need to stop for 30 mins to charge for every 3 hours of travel time. Not an unreasonable ratio. And that ratio is continuously being improved. And this is achieved by what is in essence a “startup” company. Imagine if the established manufacturers made a concerted effort in this direction. IMO and experience the headline of the article is flawed as is the Deloitte survey. A bit like before the iPhone first launched. Most people would have thought that a phone without a physical keyboard would be a silly idea. They couldn’t imagine the new product and it’s benefits without experiencing it. Same with electric cars. I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t had a ride in the i3 and not had a paradigm shift in thinking.

  • Vomavu

    Really a bad piece this. Who needs 400km every day? You need a top-up maybe at time not a full charge at a fast charging station. Today I can take my Leaf from 20% to 80% full in 20min in SA. I charge from a normal 15A plug point at home overnight – if I need to “fill-up” completely. I have a charge box at work and all of this is more than enough to get me to where I need to go. If they interview people surly they should find people who have got experience driving electric! Not people with unsubstantiated opinions!

Join our newest FREE BusinessTech newsletter today!
×