The Overseas Market

Note: this post was originally hosted at the retired, an archive of which can be viewed here. Original image links to Twitter are no longer available.

We recently had the opportunity to attend the OC International Auto Show in Los Angeles, and what an eye-opener. Smog used to be a major issue in LA, but thanks to a number of efforts and legislation, a major turn around has been seen. Part of this relates to car regulations surrounding emissions. Along with this came a major push towards EVs support by a Clean Vehicle Rebate Program.

As such you see a lot of EVs driving around LA, a lot more than in South African in any case. And the OC Auto Show showed similar trends with majority of manufacturers featuring at least one hybrid or alternative energy vehicle.

There are several reasons for the very limited availability of EVs in South Africa, one of which which is often overlooked is price. At $30,000 the Nissan Leaf is one of the entry level vehicles in not just the EV market, but the hybrid market as well. This translates to about R400,000 and is sold locally for about R450,000.

That is a lot of money for a car, but you can see the Dollar-Rand exchange doesn’t affect it that much. Where are the R200,000 EVs. Although $30,000 is still a lot for a vehicle in the States, with a minimum wage in California eight times higher than in SA, and an overall higher income group, more people are able to afford such vehicles.

This then has the rollover effect that because there are vehicles, more charging stations are built, because more charging stations are built, more people feel like it is not a hassle to purchase an EV.

It was refreshing walking around the Anaheim Convention Centre and viewing all the EVs and hybrids on offer, that we just don’t get in SA. Some of which include:

  • Audi A3 e-tron
  • Ford C-max Hybrid
  • Honda Clarity – Fuel Cell
  • VW e-Golf
  • Toyota Rav Hybrid
  • Toyota Mirai – Fuel Cell
  • Hyundai Ioniq
  • Hyundai Tucson – Fuel Cell

Surprisingly absent were Tesla, although they don’t really do things in a conventional manner. Although Mercedes had a large offering of their vehicles, their hybrids were completely absent.

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