Two things putting South Africans off from buying an EV – and it’s not the price

 ·15 Oct 2023

The majority of South African car shoppers are inclined towards owning an electric vehicle (EV) in the future, however, most will only do so if it offers at least 500km of range and can charge to full in under four hours.

This is according to AutoTrader’s 2023 South African Electric Vehicle Buyers Survey. Unsurprisingly it’s the youth (24-35 year-olds) rather than the older generation (over 65) who are most likely to be future EV buyers.

While the higher price remains a talking point, its biggest drawbacks are charging time and lack of charging infrastructure and driving range.

“The perceived disadvantage regarding the initial cost to purchase has decreased by 3.4% from 65.2% in 2022 to 62% in 2023. This decrease can be attributed to the introduction of more affordable new EVs in the market this year, as well as a growing used EV car parc, one that offers a cheaper entry point to ownership,” states CEO of AutoTrader, George Mienie.

Significantly, 82% of respondents said they would consider purchasing an EV if it could be fully charged in under an hour at a fast charging station. As to charging costs, people aged over 34 remain the most realistic, estimating the cost to charge within the R200 – R500 price range.

Another main issue preventing EV adoption is practicality, with most buyers requiring a range of at least 300km. More than 34% of survey respondents, the largest group, required an electric car with a range of 500-700km, while 19.7% needed over 700km.

Respondents were also asked about their views on charging times for electric vehicles (EVs).

Over 77% of the participants stated that it should take less than four hours for an EV to fully charge at home. It is important to note that domestic EV chargers are primarily designed to charge cars overnight in preparation for the next day.

A total of 16.4% of users expected it to take less than an hour, with only 3.5% willing to wait for more than 12 hours.

The majority of people believe that fast charging in public spaces should take less than an hour to fully charge their devices. Over 80% of respondents expressed this opinion.

Nearly half of those surveyed believe that a fast charger should take no more than 30 minutes to charge their devices, while the second-largest group stated that they would allow for an additional 30 minutes of charging time.

Most trusted Brands

AutoTrader also conducted a survey to determine the awareness of electric vehicle (EV) models and the most trusted EV brands among consumers in South Africa.

The survey found that most respondents were aware of the luxury German carmakers Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz selling EVs in the country, with over 80% being aware of BMW’s models.

Volvo ranked fourth, and Toyota, which doesn’t sell any fully electric models in South Africa, ranked fifth. In terms of the most trusted EV manufacturers, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota were the top three.

Despite not even selling vehicles in South Africa, Elon Musk’s Tesla is the fourth most-trusted EV brand among respondents. The graph below shows which brands the respondents trusted the most with making EVs.

Read: 3 of the best entry-level, budget, and compact hatchbacks in South Africa in 2023

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter