6 Topics covered by the AutoTrader SA 2021 Electric Vehicle (EV) Buyers Survey, seeking to provide answers to questions about Electric Vehicles consumers are too afraid to ask. 

  • What the penetration of Electric Vehicles is in South Africa.
  • General consumer sentiment about Electric Vehicles.
  • What consumers expect from Electric Vehicles.
  • Consumer intentions when it comes to buying Electric Vehicles.
  • Which car brands of Electric Vehicles South Africans are aware of.
  • Which car brands of Electric Vehicles are trusted the most.

The survey provides insights for OEMs and the wider South African automotive industry to help steer us all toward a future of New Energy Vehicles in South Africa.

The first iteration of this report was published in 2020 and now provides the ability for us to compare results across 2 years. 

3 Main insights the buyers’ survey revealed about Electric Vehicles (EV):

  1. The price of an Electric car needs to be under R500,000.
  2. Range anxiety is still a real fear.
  3. EV charging expectations are high.

The price of an EV needs to be under R500,000

Future drivers of Electric Vehicles want the price to be below R500k, an important nuance to reach EV adoption and scale in South Africa.

This has not changed from the 2020 EV buyers survey to the 2021 EV buyers survey.

Ranging anxiety is still a real fear

Although range anxiety in driving electric cars has decreased marginally since the 2020 Electric Vehicle Buyers Survey, electric vehicle range anxiety is still a real perceived concern for most South Africans.

EV charging expectations are high

Consumers expect to charge their EVs in less than 1 hour at EV public charging stations.

It is evident that Electric car charging times is more of an education or information problem than a real-world problem.

The main factor in living with an EV myself is the change in user behaviour. Being an electric car owner, you need to treat your EV like you treat your phone, you charge it when you are not using it.

The ABCs of owning an electric car – “Always Be Charging”

Most drivers of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles drive until the “petrol light” appears and then fill it. You can’t treat your electric car this way. Range anxiety will become a real thing if done.

Electric car brand trust in South Africa

Two factors stood out for me in both the 2020 and 2021 surveys.

By way of example, is that locals think that:

1 – Tesla is in South Africa.

2 – There is a Toyota Hilux EV

AutoTrader SA can see the different types of electric cars consumers are searching for, including the electric cars that don’t exist. 

In Summary

It is important for us not only to address incentives to address the elephant in the room, price. It is also important for us to ensure future electric car drivers are well informed and that “fake news” around:

  • Range
  • Charge times
  • Load shedding

No longer features in the fear of South Africans about Electric Vehicles!