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Africa|Automotive|Design|DIGITALISATION|Infrastructure|Safety|Service|Training|Maintenance|Products|Solutions|Infrastructure
Africa|Automotive|Design|DIGITALISATION|Infrastructure|Safety|Service|Training|Maintenance|Products|Solutions|Infrastructure
africa|automotive|design|DIGITALISATION|infrastructure|safety|service|training|maintenance|products|solutions|infrastructure

Local electric vehicle roll-out successful, despite challenges

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26th January 2024

By: Trent Roebeck

Features Reporter

     

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Automotive vehicle manufacturer Audi South Africa (Audi SA) maintains a positive outlook on the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by customers and businesses in the country, despite the challenges associated with EV growth and adoption.

As part of its effort to continue developing the EV market in South Africa, Audi SA will launch its new Q8 e-tron sports-utility vehicle (SUV) in 2024, having recently concluded the successful run-out phase of the e-tron SUV.

“The Q8 e-tron will form the pinnacle of our e-tron SUV offering in South Africa,” says Audi SA retail, planning and supply chain head Asif Hoosen.

The Q8 e-tron SUV will be equipped with more modern internal and external design characteristics; and enhanced digitalisation, luxury and convenience features; as well as a larger battery with faster charging capability, which will ensure a longer driving range.

Customers can experience the “driving pleasure of an original Audi vehicle” while contributing to decarbonisation and reducing operational costs, he adds.

Solutions for EV Challenges

There are several challenges facing Audi SA regarding the EV market in South Africa. These challenges include: the high tax duty rate of EVs (25%), when compared with internal-combustion vehicles (18%); the difficulty in securing enough EVs for the local market, as the global popularity of Audi’s e-tron range can lead to stock challenges; and the issues of “consumer confusion” regarding the impact of loadshedding on EVs and the availability of charging infrastructure.

However, Audi SA has developed general consumer education and awareness initiatives to avert the impact that these challenges could have on growth of the local EV market. For example, the company has invested, and will continue to invest, in discussions that inform consumers of the developments regarding charging infrastructure for Audi EVs.

Additionally, the company launched a marketing campaign, during which several mini e-tron mobile phone chargers were placed inside Bidvest Premier Lounges at key airports in the country. The campaign aims to demonstrate the easy-to-use nature of EV charging stations, emphasising that using them for Audi EVs could be as simple as charging one’s phone.

“We believe that all brands have the responsibility to grow the EV market in South Africa and we are taking a leading role,” notes Hoosen.

EV Service Provision

Audi SA and its strategic partners plan to add more than 80 charging stations to the public charger network, having already invested more than R45-million in this initiative. The investment will accommodate the expected increase in EV adoption by local users and will continue into 2024.

An investment will also be made in first-responder training to educate first responders on how to control an EV to ensure the safety of drivers, their passengers or bystanders who have been involved in an accident.

It is evident that there is a bright future for the adoption of EVs in South Africa, says Hoosen.

Audi SA is playing its part in the provision of EVs, the maintenance and service provision for customers, and training initiatives for partners who will play a role in making the transition to EVs a seamless one.

“We expect the EV market to continue to grow exponentially year-on-year, with consumer sentiment shifting towards EVs. As more products become available at various price points, so too will the EV market gather momentum. The change will be swift,” he enthuses.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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