The shift towards electric mobility is gaining momentum and many manufacturers are looking to the future and introducing electric vehicles (EVs) to the mass market. While electric vehicles aren’t as common in South Africa as in other parts of the world, things are changing steadily… Here are the major electric vehicle introductions that you can expect to see in South Africa in the near future.

Vast distances, lack of charging infrastructure, range anxiety and the prohibitively high purchase prices of electric vehicles are likely to remain key factors that will continue to stifle the adoption of electric vehicles in South Africa for the foreseeable future.

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However, the wheel is slowly turning and rapid technological developments in terms of fast charging, improved electric vehicle range, design and integration are addressing these concerns. The Jaguar Powerway (in partnership with GridCars) which was the result of a R30-million investment has made a significant difference in bolstering new charging infrastructure in major hubs and along major holiday routes across South Africa. Furthermore, brands such as BMW and Nissan have also collaborated to increase access to public charging infrastructure across the country.

Earlier this year, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition released an Auto Green Paper on the Advancement of New Energy Vehicles in South Africa, laying the foundation for South Africa to gear up for local electric vehicle (EV) production. The Auto Green Paper is the first step in the process of developing the roadmap towards local EV and EV component production. Watch this space!

If you want to buy an electric vehicle in South Africa today, your choices are currently limited to the BMW i3 and BMW iXMini Cooper SE. Jaguar I-Pace, Porsche Taycan (as well as the Taycan Cross Turismo). and the Volvo XC40 Recharge. In 2022, however, a host of new EV products are due to arrive in South Africa.

With fuel prices consistently rising, demand for electric vehicles might very well be at the start of a long upward trajectory in the medium to long-term and the arrival of the following products in coming months might be the start of a major shift in public perception towards electric mobility.

Audi e-tron SUV / e-tron Sportback / e-tron GT – Q1 2022

Orders are now open for the Audi e-tron range expected early in 2022. Customers can choose between 3 core e-tron models including the e-tron SUV, e-tron Sportback and e-tron GT.

The e-tron 55 SUV (advanced and s line) offers a total output of 300 kW and 664 Nm and uses a 95 kWh battery system to deliver a range between 369 and 440 km according to WLTP. Zero to 100 kph is claimed in 5.7 seconds.

The e-tron 55 Sportback packs the same battery and output as the above e-tron 55 SUV but features a slightly better range of between 372 and 453 km.

If you want more oomph, you might want to consider the e-tron S Sportback with 370 kW and 973 Nm. I twill dash from zero to 100 kph in just 4.5 seconds and offer a range of between 347 and 378 km.

As for the stylish e-tron GT, it delivers 350 kW and 630 Nm and makes use of a 93.4 kWh battery to deliver a range of between 433 to 472 km. the e-tron GT will sprint from zero to 100 kph in 4.5 seconds.

But that’s not all because there will be a more potent RS e-tron GT on offer too with no less than 440 kW and 830 Nm which will provide rapid acceleration from zero to 100 kph in only 3.6 seconds. Range is claimed at between 433 and 472 km for this derivative.

Mercedes-Benz EQA / EQB / EQC / EQS – Mid 2022

Mercedes-Benz will launch a flurry of new EV products in 2022 including the EQA, EQB, EQC and the EQS.

The EQA is an all-electric version of the brand’s GLA and there will be multiple derivatives of EQA to come, but the EQA 250 is likely to arrive first. Under the bonnet, there’s a 140 kW electric motor, which gives the EQA a range of 486 km based on the NEDC cycle. For those wanting more, there’ll be an all-wheel drive model, as well as models that have over 200 kW and long-distance versions that are said to offer at least 500 km.

The EQB was revealed in April 2021 and unlike other Merc EV products, it’s a 7-seater! Multiple versions of the EQB will be available including front- and all-wheel-drive versions. Different power outputs will be available too, with European derivatives exceeding 200 kW. Range is claimed at about 420km.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC will be powered by a pair of electric motors, combining to deliver 300 kW and 765 Nm of torque. There’s a motor on the front axle and a second at the rear, making it an all-wheel-drive vehicle. The Mercedes-Benz EQC is expected to offer a range of 450 km.

Merc’s EV offensive will be topped off with the ultra-luxurious, flagship EQS which will be initially offered as either the EQS 450+ with 245 kW or the EQS 580 4MATIC with 385 kW. Range is claimed at up to 770 km (WLTP).

Note that exact South African model specification and pricing details are not yet known and this information will be communicated closer to launch.

BMW iX3 and i4 – Q2 2022

BMW’s local electric vehicle portfolio is due to expand with the introduction of the iX3 SUV and i4 sedan, both of which are due to arrive in the second quarter of 2022.

The iX3 is essentially an electrified version of the firm’s popular X3 SUV. Powering the 2022 BMW iX3 is an electric motor that’s packaged with the gearbox and electronics in one single housing. Outputs are rated at 210 kW and 400 Nm, and BMW says its updated iX3 is good for a 0-100 kph of just 6.8 seconds. Power consumption is said to be 18.9 – 18.5 kWh/100 km and the vehicle has a range of 460 km based on the WLTP cycle. Fast-charging is available and a 10-minute charge from a 150 kW charger will give you around 100 km of range.

As for the i4 eDrive40 sedan, it will offer 250 Nm and 430 Nm with a claimed range of around 483 km using an 83.9 kWh battery and a zero to 100 kph sprint time of about 5.9 seconds. There is a possibility that BMW will offer an i4 M50 derivative with at least 400 kW and a zero to 100kph sprint capability of 3.9 seconds but with a reduced range of 394 km.


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