South Africa needs electric vehicle policy within six months, Ford says | Rare Techy


South Africa’s government must provide political certainty for electric vehicles (EVs) within six months to save its auto industry, Ford Motor Co’s Africa boss said. Three-quarters of the cars produced by South Africa’s automotive industry, which account for 5% of gross domestic product and provide over 100,000 jobs, are mainly exported to Europe.


November 21, 2022, at 10:03 am

File photo of a plug-in electric vehicle used for promotional purposes only (REUTERS)
File photo of a plug-in electric vehicle used for representational purposes only (REUTERS)

But with Britain set to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and the European Union in 2035, the local industry could lose thousands of jobs and billions in revenue if there is no government plan for electric vehicles. “We need political certainty literally for the next six months,” Neale Hill, president of Ford Motor Company Africa, told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Also read: Chinese automakers aim for more sales in Europe with five-star electric cars

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry has not given a timetable for an electric vehicle policy, but told Reuters in August that “the government is looking for ways and means to address the issue of electric vehicles to address the country’s economic and environmental challenges.”

The ministry was not immediately available for comment.

In 2018, the government issued a master plan for the automotive industry to help local makers achieve 1% of global production, increase the use of local materials from 39% to 60% and boost employment, among other things. It did not include an electric vehicle policy.

Hill, who is also president of NAAMSA, the South African carmakers’ lobby, said car companies want the government to clarify what parts of the master plan are still eligible for support.

In March, Ford increased its spending on electric vehicles to $50 billion by 2026 as the Dearborn, Michigan-based company tries to catch up with Volkswagen of Germany and industry leader Tesla.

Hill said it would take about four years for the carmaker to turn the investment decision into actual funding at the plant, adding that globally such decisions were made by car companies and South Africa was not.

“I am concerned that the (South African) government’s delays and lethargy on this matter will cost us a seat at the table,” he said.

Date of first publication: 21 November 2022 at 10:01 AM IST


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