Just how many traditional hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles were sold in South Africa in 2023? Let’s take a closer look at the official sales figures…

According to figures released by Naamsa, sales of electric vehicles (EVs), traditional hybrids and plug-in hybrids – or, to put it another way, new-energy vehicles (NEVs) – in South Africa increased 64.6% year on year to 7,693 units in 2023. It’s worth noting this growth came off the back of a year-on-year surge of 431.7% achieved in 2022.

Of course, 2023’s NEV sales tally isn’t quite as impressive when expressed as a percentage of the overall market total, which came in at 532,098 units (0.5% up, year on year). Indeed, NEVs accounted for just 1.45% of total new-vehicle sales last year, though this was at least the first breach of the 1% mark (2022’s figure was 0.88%). For the record, mild hybrids don’t appear to be included in this exercise.

Volvo says its XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid was SA’s best-selling PHEV last year.

According to the industry representative body, 931 fully electric vehicles were registered locally in 2023, up 85.46% year on year. Volvo Car South Africa says its XC40 Recharge was the country’s top seller in this space last year, capturing 16.6% of the EV market.

The dual-powered version of the Corolla Cross accounted for nearly half of all traditional hybrid sales.

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were again considerably less popular than fully electric models, with only 267 examples sold in Mzansi during 2023. That said, local PHEV sales at least grew at a faster rate than EVs, surging 118.85% year on year. According to Volvo, the XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid was the top seller here, followed by the XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrid.

As you’ve no doubt already worked out, that means traditional hybrids accounted for the bulk of NEV registrations in 2023, reflecting a sales total of 6,495 units (up 60.37%, year on year). Fascinatingly, dual-powered versions of the Prospecton-built Toyota Corolla Cross accounted for nearly half (at 47.10%) of all of traditional hybrid sales last year with a tally of 3,059 units, according to the Japanese firm.


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