SA: Manufacturers welcome electric vehicle road map

Technology African Brains WikimediaVehicle manufacturers in South Africa have welcomed the launch of the Electronic Vehicle Industry Road Map, which aims to introduce electric vehicles into the South African market.

“It’s a tremendous initiative and a good start to working with all stakeholders. We will fully support it,” Nisssan SA CEO Mike Whitfield said on Thursday.

Toyota SA CEO Johan van Zyl and BMW CEO Bodo Donauer congratulated the initiative.

“This is not a short term issue; it’s a long term plan. It is a process whereby we have to work together to first of all, establish the infrastructure.

“From the motor industry side, the technology has already been developed and is available whether it’s electric or hybrids. In the future, [most] vehicles will use alternative technology.

“This is the right time to start. If we don’t start sometime, we will be left behind,” said Van Zyl, adding that the country needed to ensure a greener environment in future.

Trade and Industry Minister (dti) Rob Davies today launched the road map that will see South Africa put in place a set of incentives for the local production of these vehicles, which will lead to a reduction of the country’s carbon footprint as well as creating jobs.

“We are well aware that as development takes place transportation demand will grow. What is absolutely evident is that vehicle manufacturing must adopt new technology [for lesser emissions],” said Davies.

South Africa is the 13th largest global emitter of CO2.

South Africa, said Davies, could not be left behind in technological developments.

Whitfield said cooperation between government and industry was important in this regard, not only for the legislative framework but also for awareness and education of the public.

Davies said the proposal was that vehicle manufacturers be incentivised by government to manufacture electric vehicles by introducing a “very generous quota for manufacturing” under the Department of Trade and Industry’s Automotive Production Development Programme (APDP).

The APDP’s objective is to raise the volume of cars manufactured in the country to 1.2 million per annum by 2020. It also aims to diversify the components supply chain.

For manufacturers who produce electric vehicles to qualify for the incentive, they must produce 5 000 electric vehicles, and government would reimburse the manufacturer for 35% of the production costs over three years.

In June, the Department of Trade and Industry will engage industry stakeholders (including the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, among others) on the road map and public comments into the matter will be collected.

The roadmap is expected to be taken to Cabinet in September.


Source: SA News – 2 May 2013