Startups are leading Africa’s charge towards electric vehicles
From the Cape to Cairo, green tech startups are leading Africa’s charge towards electric mobility, a critical intervention in the fight against pollution driven by a global tide in the use of electric vehicles (EVs).
However, the continent’s shift to electric mobility lags behind Europe, the US and China, the global frontrunners in electric mobility.
South Africa sold only 92 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2020, down from 154 in 2019, representing 0.02% of domestic vehicle sales. Hybrid sales declined from 253 units in 2019 to 232 units in 2020.
Nonetheless, several countries are developing comprehensive policy frameworks to catalyse the transition and adoption of electric mobility.
Jane Akumu, a programme officer with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), says that while Africa trails other parts of the world in e-mobility, the continent is awakening to the opportunities in the EV market, especially in electric two- and three-wheelers where there is potential for green jobs, local manufacturing and assembly, cleaner renewable energy, and business opportunities in charging and battery swapping.
“We see an interest in many African governments and the private sector in e-mobility today. There is increased interest in more countries to incentivise the uptake of EVs, like Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and many more where the governments are looking at EV uptake,” she says.
UNEP, through its Global E-Mobility programme, has been helping African countries to come up with the right policies to switch from fossil fuel mobility to electric mobility. Some 19 countries have allocated part of their Global Environment Facility funding to electric mobility but UNEP would like to see more countries and cities make clearer pronouncements such as the dates when they will phase out internal combustion engine vehicles.
South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Rwanda, and North African countries are the early leaders in the EV market, according to UNEP.
The Kenya-based Association for Electric Mobility and Development in Africa (AEMDA) says that East Africa has been the centre of Africa’s radical shift to electric mobility. Rwanda leads in the promotion of e-mobility through its recent raft of policy measures that include reduced electricity tariffs for EVs, zero VAT tax on EV consumables, exemption from import and excise duties and rent-free land for charging stations.
Kenya has also gained critical market momentum to increase the adoption of electric mobility and has set a target of 5% of all newly registered vehicles to be electric by 2025.
“In Kenya, 64% of market players in e-mobility have invested in local assembly. We foresee a high demand for EVs especially in the two- and three-wheeler segment which would be more affordable compared to four-wheelers,” says the AEMDA.
In North Africa, Morocco plans to achieve 23% energy savings in the transport sector by 2030 while Egypt is working on a national e-mobility strategy. Egypt is trialling 12 electric cars and plans to produce its first 100 in August 2022, while the country will build 3,000 charging stations in a joint manufacturing deal between El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company and the Chinese Dongfeng Motor Corporation.
Source: African Business