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Report shows more SA buyers are searching for EVs

04 August 2022 - 08:27 By Denis Droppa
Battery-powered cars like this Mini SE still sell at a trickle, but more local buyers express interest on AutoTrader.
Battery-powered cars like this Mini SE still sell at a trickle, but more local buyers express interest on AutoTrader.
Image: Supplied

There has been a 134% year-on-year increase in demand for electric vehicles (EVs) on AutoTrader, reports the website.

It is from a very small base, but the number of EV models continues to grow as does SA consumer interest, says AutoTrader CEO George Mienie. There were 92 EVs sold locally in 2020, which increased to 218 units in 2021 after an increasing number of brands launched battery-powered cars. In recent months, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo have unveiled EVs in SA, with additional models to follow.

Global sales of electric cars (including fully electric and plug-in hybrids) doubled in 2021 to a new record of 6.7-million. With a number of countries set to ban the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EV growth has spiked over the past three years, and 2.2-million electric cars were sold in 2019.

“Given the global move to EVs, local car-manufacturing strategies have begun to shift. Interest in [electric and hybrid vehicles] is also being fuelled locally, helped in good measure by the introduction of several new EVs domestically and the launch of the first locally built hybrid electric car, the Toyota Corolla Cross,” says Mienie.

The high prices of EVs, coupled with Eskom’s power supply issues and perceptions of limited charging infrastructure, are still barriers to local adoption of EVs, but Mienie notes that SA’s EV infrastructure is ahead of the curve with one charger for every four EVs, compared to the typical international average of one charger per 20 electric cars. However, an extensive education campaign is required, as not all consumers know what a charging station is, with some mistaking them for parking-ticket pay stations.

The Audi RS e-tron GT was the most-searched electric car on AutoTrader in the first half of 2022, ahead of the BMW i3, Porsche Taycan, Audi e-Tron GT, Jaguar I-Pace and BMW iX.

Other trends gleaned from AutoTrader’s 2022 Mid-Year Car Industry Report:

  • Volkswagen was the most searched for brand, bumping BMW into second place
  • The Toyota Hilux was the most searched for model
  • The Volkswagen Golf GTI continues to be the most searched for variant
  • BMW was again the most viewed car brand
  • The Volkswagen Polo was the most viewed model
  • Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 was the most viewed variant
  • More than 56-million body type searches were made. SUVs had the highest body type searches
  • The three most listed used models were the VW Polo, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger
  • There was a 9% increase in average used car prices year-on-year (R389,145 to R423,964); a 2% increase in used average car mileage (75,830km to 77,147km); and the average year model is 2017 (2016 in previous period).

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