We had the opportunity to find out from the CEO of Naamsa, Mike Mabasa what the purpose of the Green Paper on SA’s new energy vehicles is all about. 

The new energy vehicle Green Paper policy document recently published was produced to help in defining Africa’s position on new energy vehicles.

Let’s first define what a “new energy vehicle” is? It includes all vehicles that run on alternative energy sources and not fossil fuels only. Cars like battery-electric cars, hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars are all new energy vehicles.

The South African automotive industry is a global business and not a local business.

All the manufacturers that we have in South Africa are global companies. In order for us to be able to respond to what happens is dependent on what we do as a country. 

South Africa’s car manufacturers’ impact on the Green Paper

South Africa hosts seven global manufacturers in our automotive industry. However, 64% of vehicles produced are not being sold within South African borders. This means that we do not have enough local demand to satisfy our production levels. So 64% of the cars we assemble are exported mostly to the EU and the UK.

SA exports cars to 147 different markets. 

Move from ICE to new energy vehicles

South African manufacturers have around 5 to 10 years before ICE vehicles are no longer accepted. Because countries we export to are moving from ICE to new energy vehicle solutions. Mainly battery electric cars and hybrid cars. 

Most of these global companies are moving away from ICE because governments have set targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

If South Africa is to keep 64% of our automotive manufacture, the vehicles we export need to adapt to the incoming electric car market demand. 

SA is leveling up to the global EV market

It is important for organizations like Naamsa as well as industry stakeholders, like AutoTrader SA, to work together. So that we can move at the same pace as the rest of the world to new energy vehicles, but especially battery electric cars. 

Therefore the Green Paper plays a major role in getting the new energy vehicles across the line and turning it into a White Paper policy document.

Additionally, Mike Mabasa from Naamsa identified three important factors that will help in getting South Africa to a position in addressing the challenges in the Green Paper, which are:

  • localization
  • Infrastructure
  • Competent manufacturing

These factors were spotlighted as SA has a local component manufacturing industry.

SA moving away from being “assemblers”

The South African automotive industry assembles most of the vehicles that are exported to other global territories. However, the market needs to move away from being assemblers to becoming manufacturers for the SA automotive market.  This can be achieved by localizing the manufacturing of components for new energy vehicles rather than importing them.

The Green Paper focuses on making this possible.

This is important as the automotive industry is changing at a rapid pace! South Africa does not want to be left behind. 

2 Key areas the South African automotive industry needs to consider in moving to new energy vehicles: 

  • The design phase of manufacturing.
  • Finding a way to start manufacturing components, not just assemble them. 

South Africa has started making the transition to new energy vehicles

The industry manufactures starter motors and batteries. But both of these do not exist or are different for electric cars or new energy vehicles. But if we don’t move fast enough we will be branded as assemblers and not manufacturers of vehicles in South Africa.