The local automotive industry will finally get clarity on the government’s policy on electric vehicle (EV) production. The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, will be holding a media briefing on Monday to outline the country’s electric vehicle roadmap and the way forward.
This follows Cabinet’s recent approval of the White Paper on EVs which seeks to ensure that South Africa moves with international shifts away from the internal combustion engine to new technology vehicles.
The local automotive industry has been seeking clarity on this policy, as well as an understanding of the incentives the government will put in place for it to begin investment in the development and expansion of new and existing manufacturing facilities to support the production of electric vehicles in the country.
Clarity on government’s policy around production of electric vehicles:
On average, South African-based car manufacturers export around 60% of their stock to a number of overseas markets,
with Europe being a key recipient.
But, South Africa has been behind the curve in terms of having a legal framework to allow for the making of electric and/or other new technology cars.
The industry has been raising the alarm for years, warning that if the government doesn’t formulate policy in good time, the industry, which largely continues to produce internal combustion engine vehicles, could lose out on key export markets.
Speaking to SABC News, when it was launching its investment and production in hybrid vehicles in November, Ford indicated that the automotive industry had been working closely with the government, to come up with a framework that will help to assure the industry’s future and the many jobs that go with it.
CEO of Ford Africa Neale Hill says, “We, as the automotive industry, especially as NAAMSA, have been engaging … while we continue to serve our SA consumers.”
Once given the green light to produce electric vehicles, sufficient confidence in the electricity supply will be crucial, as well as the development of battery technology, with computerization also being key. NAAMSA has said that such developments would augur well for creating whole new industries and skill sets, with the African continent set to be a key player in terms of battery technology.
CEO of NAAMSA Mikel Mabasa says, “Many of the minerals that we’re using in battery technology and many other components are actually sourced from Africa.”
The hope is that as the industry starts building electric vehicles at scale and the country’s energy security improves, these new technology cars will become increasingly more affordable to South Africans.
While the industry will be able to plug into existing markets already racing ahead with EV technology.
Minister Patel is also set to give the nation an update on the Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy.