New-energy vehicle production set to increase in SA

While new-energy vehicle (NEV) production numbers are currently low in South Africa, naamsa | The Automotive Business Council is hopeful that the numbers will soon increase.

naamsa CEO Mikel MABASA says the start of production of the Corolla Cross hybrid at Toyota’s Durban plant this year adds to the existing assembly of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class plug-in hybrid (PHEV) at the German car maker’s East London plant.

Ford then also looks set to become yet another producer of hybrid vehicles in South Africa, with the proposed production of a plug-in hybrid model in the new Ranger pickup lineup, he notes.

The US car maker has already unveiled the F-150 Lightning full electric bakkie in the US, set for launch in 2022.

NEVs refers to hybrid vehicles, PHEVs and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

MABASA says the South African automotive industry does not currently produce any BEVs, with PHEV production at two units in 2020, down from a peak of 1 180 units in 2018.

The decline is largely owing to the run-out of the previous C-Class line-up, with the new model introduced this year.

MABASA says it is imperative the local automotive industry moves swiftly towards NEV production, as South Africa’s primary vehicle export market – the European Union – has indicated that it will not allow internal combustion engines on its roads “in the next five to ten years”.

Ford South Africa declined to comment.

* MABASA spoke at the Nedbank Energy Seminar held on Tuesday

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