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All the electric cars you can buy in South Africa

South Africans now have a wide range of electric vehicles to choose from, with prices ranging from R709,400 and going up to R4.1 million.

Despite a radical global shift to electric cars among the world’s biggest manufacturers, adoption in South Africa has been very slow.

Data from Greencape’s Electric Vehicles Market Intelligence Report showed that only 545 battery-electric models were sold in South Africa between 2013 and 2019, compared to nearly 2.75 million petrol and diesel cars.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the high import tax that carmakers have to pay to bring them into the country, adding a substantial premium to the showroom price tag.

In addition, motorists are concerned about the extent of the charging infrastructure available in South Africa, not to mention regular load-shedding.

South Africa’s electric car sales from 2013 to 2019 pale in comparison to sales of petrol and diesel cars.

The Nissan Leaf was the first fully-electric car launched in South Africa in November 2013. But it was not as well-received as the company might have hoped.

To be an early adopter, you had to cough up R446,000 for the Leaf, which was hefty in 2013. At that time, you could buy a new 2013 entry-level Toyota Fortuner Limited Edition for around the same price.

Combined with its limited range of 195km, 8-hour charging period, and minimal charging infrastructure available at that time, South Africans were largely unconvinced about its feasibility in everyday use.

BMW made its play with the launch of the compact BMW i3 hatchback in 2015, and while its sales were slightly better, it still had limited appeal.

Nissan LeafNissan Leaf

But the country is now being forced to change gears, with mounting global pressure to shift to cleaner energy sources and critical economic considerations coming into play.

The country’s major automobile manufacturers also export much of their inventory to the European market, which is aggressively pushing for a total phase-out on the sale of internal combustion engine models.

If they cannot adapt, they stand to lose a sizeable chunk of customers, and the industry could lose billions.

As a result, momentum in the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) industry has been building in South Africa during the last few years.

In 2019, the Jaguar i-Pace made its debut, becoming the first electric SUV in the country and offering a more attractive range of up to 470km.

Luxury brand Porsche brought its high-performance Taycan models to local shores in 2020 and continued to expand the line-up into 2021 and 2022.

The Mini Cooper SE then made its entry in 2020, with an updated version last year carrying the most affordable EV price tag in South Africa.

2021 saw the soft launch of the Volvo XC 40 P8 Recharge, which sold out quickly after launch. It started shipping to customers this year.

The year finished with BMW bringing its second fully electric car to market — the iX SUV.

The iX offers the biggest battery yet of any EV on the market, promising up to 625km of range, based on Europe’s WLTP cycle.

BMW iX

2022 is set to be South Africa’s biggest for EV releases yet.

In late February, Audi launched its much-anticipated e-tron range locally, with five distinct models available in 7 configurations.

Bar any surprise releases, Mercedes-Benz will be next on the list, with four of its EQ models expected to launch in the second quarter of the year.

BMW is also planning to introduce an electric variant of its popular X3 SUV and the i4 M50 in South Africa later this year.

Below are all the electric vehicle ranges you can buy in South Africa right now.

Audi e tron

  • Number of models/configurations: 5/7
  • Price range: R1,745,000 – R3,300,000
  • Maximum range: 488 km (e-tron GT)
  • Maximum battery size: 93.4kWh
  • Fast charging speed: 250kW

BMW i3

  • Number of models/configurations: 2/4
  • Price range: R754,200 – R914,000
  • Maximum range: 335km (BMW i3 BEV)
  • Maximum battery size: 42.24kWh
  • Fast charging speed: 49kW

BMW iX

  • Number of models/configurations: 2/2
  • Price range: R1,650,000 – R2,200,000
  • Maximum range: 630 km
  • Maximum battery size: 111.5kWh
  • Charging speed: 200kW

Mini Cooper SE

  • Number of models/configurations: 1/1
  • Price: R709,400
  • Maximum range: 215km
  • Maximum battery size: 32.6kWh
  • Charging speed: 50kW

Jaguar iPace

  • Number of models/configurations: 1/1
  • Price: R2,000,000
  • Maximum range: 470km
  • Maximum battery size: 90kWh
  • Charging speed: 100kW

Porsche Taycan

  • Number of models/configurations: 8/16
  • Price range: R2,312,000 – R4,111,000
  • Maximum range: 625km (Taycan GTS)
  • Maximum battery size: 93.4kWh
  • Charging speed: 270kW

Volvo XC 40 P8 Recharge

  • Number of models/configurations: 1/1
  • Price: R1,200,000
  • Maximum range: 418 km
  • Maximum battery size: 78kWh
  • Charging speed: 151kW

Now read: Volkswagen unveils ID.Buzz electric microbus — with load-shedding backup power

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