South Africa's new-car market includes more electric vehicles (EVs) than ever before. So, just how popular are these battery-powered vehicles locally? Well, in its quarterly review of business conditions for the South African automotive industry, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) lists some very interesting figures.


Before we dive in, we should bear in mind there is currently no truly affordable EV on the local market, with the least expensive option being the Mini Cooper SE Hatch three-door, which kicks off at a lofty R723,000. Every other full-size electric vehicle currently available in SA is priced in seven figures (with the highest base price being that of the R4,134,000 Porsche Taycan Turbo S).

According to Naamsa, 205 electric vehicles were registered in South Africa in the first half of 2022 (that translates to a mere 0.08% of the industry total of 253,442 vehicles). Interestingly, 112 units were sold in the opening quarter, with 93 units registered across April, May and June. For some context, a total of 218 EVs were sold in SA in 2021.

How many hybrids and Phevs were sold in SA in H1 2022?

Hybrid sales declined in Q2 largely due to a lack of local production of the Toyota Corolla Cross



What about other so-called “new-energy vehicles”? Well, traditional hybrids accounted for 1,850 sales in the first half of the year, though slowed from 1,257 units in the first quarter to 593 units in the second quarter. Of course, much (if not all) of this quarter-on-quarter decline is down to the fact Toyota South Africa Motors was forced to halt production at its Prospecton plant – where it builds hybrid versions of its Corolla Cross – in mid-April 2022 owing to severe flood damage.

Just 82 examples of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (Phevs) were sold locally from the start of January to the end of June 2022, though this figure is higher than the respective totals achieved in each of the previous three full years. Interestingly, however, as many as 121 Phevs were sold in South Africa back in 2017 (when BMW offered the likes of the i8, X5 xDrive40e and 740e, while Mercedes-Benz marketed the C350e).

Total new-energy vehicle sales (so, electric plus traditional hybrid and plug-in hybrid) for the first six months of 2022 came to 2 139 units, far ahead of 2021’s tally of 896 units but still just 0.84% of total industry sales.

Electrified vehicle sales in South Africa from 2017 to Q2 of 2022. Figures courtesy of Naamsa.



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