A wave of new electric vehicles (EVs) is set to hit the world’s roads in the coming years.

The clearest sign that the industry is on a path to explosive growth is the sheer confidence of investors in both old and new EV manufacturers.

Shares in Elon Musk’s Tesla have skyrocketed in 2020, with an increase of more than 700% from December 2019 to December 2020, while Chinese startup NIO has jumped by over 1,000%.

Other EV companies like Xpeng and Li Auto have also surged, and traditional major manufacturers are stepping things up with an increased number of fully-electric models from the likes of Audi BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, and Volvo set for release in the coming years.

According to a study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), electric vehicles will account for 10% of the world’s passenger vehicles by 2025.

This is set to increase exponentially in subsequent years, climbing to 28% by 2030 and 58% in 2040.

South Africa’s situation

In South Africa, adoption of EVs is fairly limited, with a report from the uYilo Electric Mobility Program claiming that only 1,119 plugin electric vehicles had been sold in the country by the end of 2019.

Around half of that figure was for fully-electric cars, while the remaining cars were hybrid.

Although EVs are typically still expensive when compared to ICE (internal combustion engine) models, manufacturers have indicated that a 25% import tax is pushing prices up even further.

This, combined with the lack of sufficient charging infrastructure and the prevalence of range anxiety among South Africans, has meant that relatively few electric vehicles have been introduced to the market.

Nevertheless, there are four fully-electric vehicles which you can currently buy in South Africa, and more are expected to arrive in 2021 and 2022.

Below are the models currently available for purchase.

BMW i3

  • Price: From R721,700
  • Engine power: 130kW (i3) / 135kW (i3s)
  • Torque: 250Nm (i3s)
  • 0-100km/h: 7.3 seconds (i3) / 6.9 seconds (i3s)
  • Top speed: 150km/h
  • Battery size: 37.9kW
  • Maximum charging speed: Rapid 55kW
  • Maximum range: 260km-330km

Jaguar i-Pace

  • Price: From R1.942 million
  • Engine power: 294kW
  • Torque: 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h: 4.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 200km/h
  • Battery size: 90kWh
  • Maximum charging speed: Rapid 100kW
  • Maximum range: 470km

MINI Cooper SE

  • Price: From R642,000
  • Engine power: 135kW
  • Torque: 270Nm
  • 0-100km/h: 7.3 seconds
  • VTop speed: 150 km/h
  • Battery size: 32.6kWh
  • Maximum charging speed: Rapid 50 kW
  • Maximum range: 185km

Porsche Taycan (three models)

  • Price: From R2.586 million
  • Engine power: Up to 560kW
  • Torque: Up to 1,050Nm
  • 0-100km/h: As low as 2.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 260km/h
  • Battery size: Up to 93.4 kWh
  • Maximum charging speed: Rapid 270 kW
  • Maximum range: 463km

Incoming models

There are several other electric vehicles slated for release in South Africa in 2021 and 2022.

This includes the Audi e-Tron, Mercedes EQC, the new Nissan Leaf and Nissan Leaf e+, and possibly the Opel Corsa-e.

The 2020 Nissan Leaf is already available for test driving in the country, and its price can be provided upon request.

Analysts expect the entry-level model to be below R550,000, which will make it the cheapest electric vehicle in South Africa.

It sports a 40kWh battery that provides up to 243km of range but is relatively tame when it comes to power, with a 0-100km/h acceleration of 11.9 seconds.

The new Leaf and Leaf e+ are only expected to officially launch in South Africa by 2022, however.

Volkswagen is also aiming to start selling its first electric vehicles in South Africa in that same year.

It remains to be seen exactly which models these will be.

Below are images of EVs which are confirmed to be launching in South Africa within the next two years.

Nissan Leaf e+

Mercedes EQC

Audi e-tron

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