Budget Speech: Minister Godongwana must announce financial incentives for Electric Vehicles

Ahead of the Budget Speech on Wednesday, Zero Carbon Charge is calling on Finance Minister Godongwana to announce a series of fiscal measures to incentivise the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry. This should include government support for off-grid, renewable energy-powered charging infrastructure.

In his State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa said that government has “decided to support electric vehicle manufacturing in South Africa to grow our automotive sector, which provides good jobs to thousands of workers.” It is now up to the Finance Minister to outline exactly how government intends to do this through a favourable tariff and subsidy regime to stimulate local EV production.

It is equally important that Minister Godongwana considers a policy framework and incentives for the development of a national network of off-grid EV charging stations powered by renewable energy. This could include rebates for drivers who charge their vehicles with electricity sourced from renewable energy charging facilities. When it comes to the regulatory environment, government should consider less stringent land use and environmental application processes to establish solar-powered charging stations.

As the EV White Paper released in November last year noted:

“The transition to EVs will only truly be low-carbon once charging infrastructure has shifted materially to renewable energy sources…The implication is that the use of renewable energy-based systems to power charging stations is important for allaying prospective consumers’ concerns related to grid power supply and availing a truly low carbon transition.”

Indeed, Zero Carbon Charge’s research shows that an EV charged by Eskom’s predominantly coal-fired grid emits 5.3 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in a year. This is even higher than a petrol vehicle which, on average, emits 4.4 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in a year if driven over the same distance. The upshot is that, for EVs to be truly green, they must be charged with renewable energy.

Furthermore, government’s draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 has revealed that South Africa’s grid will not be able to cope with the demands imposed on it by the future growth of EVs. It is therefore critical that government prioritises the development of off-grid EV charging stations based on renewable sources.

“Zero Carbon Charge is already building 120 charging facilities approximately 150 km apart  that are completely off-grid and powered by Solar PV. The cutting edge super-chargers that will be installed at these facilities will be able to charge any electric vehicle at its maximum charging rate,” said Andries Malherbe, co-founder and director of Zero Carbon Charge.

Pending regulatory approvals, the full network of charging facilities will be operational by September 2025, offering EV owners a clean, reliable source of power to charge their vehicles while travelling across South Africa.

“It is crucial that Government shifts its focus to the creation of renewable energy charging stations. Any strategies or financial incentives aimed at encouraging the EV transition in Wednesday’s Budget Speech must include this as a priority area,” said Joubert Roux, Co-founder and director of Zero Carbon Charge.

For more on Zero Carbon Charge, visit www.charge.co.za