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South Africa plans to produce its first EVs in 2026 

As part of efforts to transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, the South African government has revealed that the country’s automotive industry will likely produce its first electronic vehicle (EV) in 2026.  

Reuters reported that Ebrahim Patel, the South African Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, disclosed this on Monday as he outlined plans for the country’s green transport transition.  

  • We’re already producing hybrids but we anticipate that the first electric vehicles are likely to be produced already by 2026,” Patel told journalists. 

The minister further noted that the electrification of transport will play an important role in achieving South Africa’s Just Energy Transition (JET) plan which seeks to achieve a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. 

Patel further explained that the JET plan would require an estimated investment of 128.1 billion rand ($6.84 billion) between 2023–2027 to enable the transport sector to contribute meaningfully to South Africa’s decarbonisation commitments. 

More Insights  

The minister also revealed that the first batch of EVs will be limited, adding that growth should then accelerate between 2026 and 2030.  

Patel further revealed that only one EV manufacturer is anticipating moving into battery electric vehicle production after 2030. 

The EV plan of the South African government outlined the steps to support the transition.

The government plans to support the green transport transition by temporarily reducing the import duties for batteries in vehicles produced and sold in the domestic market, as well as the commercialisation of green hydrogen production as a source of sustainable fuel. 

The EV plan also revealed that the South African government will also reform network industries, including freight rail and ports and implement energy reforms. 

The plan, however, identifies the country’s power crisis as a challenge that could slow down the transition to green transportation.   

Furthermore, the plan notes that the effective bans on CO2-emitting vehicles from 2035 in key markets like the European Union and the UK will be profound, as they absorb nearly half of South African auto production.  

What you should know  

  • South Africa is the largest automotive manufacturing hub in Africa, hosting vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota, Isuzu, Volkswagen and Mercedes, among others. 
  • South Africa’s automotive industry is highly integrated into the global supply chain, drawing components from across the world and exporting the final consumer product to more than 150 countries worldwide. 

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