SA on track for EVs following SONA
Justin Manson, Sales Director at Webfleet Solutions

During the SONA 2024 that took place on Thursday, 8 February, President Ramaphosa stated that the government was on track to resolve the most important constraints on economic growth by creating jobs through electric vehicle manufacturing.

Naamsa has also stated that the sale of electric vehicles in South Africa more than doubled year-on-year in 2023. Sales of new-energy vehicles by 18 industry brands increased by 100.7% between the first quarter of 2023 and the second quarter. In 2024, there will be eight new electric vehicle models coming to South Africa.

While this vehicle category is set to create new jobs and reduce pollution, in a country currently grappling with up to 11 hours and 30 minutes of load shedding per day, it begs the question: How can EV planning be successful to ensure major rollouts and an increase in purchases, especially in mitigating the effects that blackouts can have on charging ports and these vehicle models?

Justin Manson, Sales Director at Webfleet South Africa, Bridgestone’s globally trusted fleet management solution, stated, “It is most likely that the fleet industry (especially last mile deliveries) will drive the growth of EVs. South Africa currently has issues with load shedding and a generally unstable electricity grid, making EV use challenging, from a planning perspective. Businesses with vehicles driving short distances could overcome this by installing charging stations at their depots, using solar and inverters for overnight charging, and using by using artificial-intelligence-powered fleet management systems to monitor the charging process, energy usage, charge status, and remaining driving distance.

“Not only can drivers cut their driving emissions, but they can also now personally ensure their vehicles are running on sun power. Additionally, the environmental impact of EVs is generally more favourable than that of internal combustion engines, especially when powered by clean energy sources. EVs have emerged as significantly better and are the future of mobility. They offer reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a lower carbon footprint, and decreased noise pollution,“ Manson adds.

The above also aligns with the President’s speech that also highlighted the implementation of the Energy Transition Investment Plan. This plan aims to not only reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change but also to enable economic growth and create jobs for South Africans. EVs will be an important factor of the plan, by potentially driving investment into green energy and skills development programmes. The country plans to collaborate with countries, such as Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana, which respectively possess essential minerals and expertise in the value chain of automotive manufacturing.