In a move which will ultimately impact emissions from South Africa, it was this week revealed that a range of government departments in South Africa have begun a push for electric vehicles and more environmentally friendly travel. This would seem to be a sensible move when you bear in mind the ever-growing amount of emissions from travel in South Africa, increasing dependency upon oil imports, and the worldwide appetite for reducing environmental damage.
Which electric cars are bound for South Africa?
While many countries around the world have already begun their electric travel projects with a variety of neighbourhood electric vehicles, the introduction of electric cars in South Africa is a major step forward. Indeed the Nissan Leaf is already available in South Africa and the BMW i8 and BMW i3 are also expected to become available in 2014. When you bear in mind the economic growth across South Africa, the ever-growing number of motorists and real concerns for the environment, the move towards electric vehicles makes perfect sense.
Investing for the future
As many countries around the world are finding, the introduction of electric vehicles is not necessarily as straightforward as it should be. The South African government has already begun an in-depth study into electric vehicles, charging point networks, and how the authorities can encourage both private and corporate motorists to embrace the electric car industry.
The fact is that if South Africa is successful in promoting the use of electric vehicles across the country this could, and probably will, attract significant interest and investment from overseas automobile companies. We could potentially see South Africa become one of the major electric car hubs of the world as it is the key to a number of other countries in the region and potentially millions of electric car enthusiasts.
The reality is that we are still some way of the introduction of electric vehicles on the scale required to take them to the "mass market" but the fact that the award-winning Nissan Leaf is already available is a major breakthrough. Nissan is no fool and obviously sees the potential for sales in South Africa even at this early stage of the electric car market.
Looking to the future
Many countries around the world have expressed great interest in electric vehicles, although in many cases this has been for a variety of different reasons. The UK government is looking to attract electric car manufacturers to the UK economy, reduce dependence upon oil and find an additional tax revenue stream for the future. The U.S. government has ploughed billions of dollars into the electric car industry in the hope that the U.S. automobile sector will again become the heartbeat of a new automobile era. While other countries, such as South Africa, are looking at more efficient forms of travel, reducing environmental damage and also maximising the potential for new business sectors.
It seems only a matter of time now before the electric car market becomes global, as motorists slowly but surely appreciate the potential efficiencies and the impact upon the environment. Indeed, with the likes of China suggesting it will invest heavily in electric vehicles, the U.S. government offering financial incentives to manufacturers and motorists, and many other countries around the world looking to attract the likes of Nissan to their shores, we could see some significant financial battles in the short to medium term.