Advancement of New Energy Vehicles in South Africa – transforming the Automotive Industry

Advancement of New Energy Vehicles in South Africa – transforming the Automotive Industry
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According to local experts, South Africa is falling behind the rest of the globe in the production of electric vehicles (EVs). In the meantime, government is discussing its draft green paper on the advancement of EVs and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). The Auto Green Paper on the Advancement of New Energy Vehicle in South Africa, sets out a proposed roadmap to local production of electric vehicles and components in South Africa. See the Auto Green paper.

Refilwe Moloto spoke to Mike Mabasa, Executive Director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), about the road map towards achieving higher production levels of electric and battery-electric vehicles in the country;

“The world is moving 10 times faster than South Africa. The automotive industry is 125 years old. The first car was produced in 1876 and that vehicle has been powered through internal combustion. That era has come and gone. The future of the industry is going to change faster in the next 10 years than it will in the last 100. We need to catch up to what the rest of the world is doing”, said Mike Mabasa, National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa executive director.

Act now or be left behind

According to Mabasa, 64% of vehicle customers are not South African and vehicles are exported to 152 markets around the world. The sector could be in for tough times, with the UK and European market warning it will stop buying vehicles in the next few years.

“South Africa has to move very quickly if we still want to keep that 64% of the market”

Governments around the world will have to make clear pronouncements in relation to how it will support the evolution of the vehicle industry.

“Our government needs to relook at its programme in order to produce the vehicles we need for local consumption and the export customer, that brings in more than R207 billion in export earnings. The manner in which the automotive industry works around the globe is that companies cannot work on their own. They must work in tandem with the government”.

Government programmes are designed to help us bring down the cost of buying vehicles. Buying new vehicles for South Africans is very expensive, because of the high tax burden on the vehicles. For a brand new vehicle, 42% of that car goes to government in taxes. We as the producers only take 58%.”

Understanding Skill Sets and Moving Forward Through Education

The automotive industry is finalising the comprehensive skills gap analysis, which helps the sector to understand the current skills set and how many of those skills will become obsolete. This research will assess what skills will be required in the next decade and how this can be prepared for the future.

Mabasa finishes by saying, “Programmes at universities in South Africa are increasingly becoming irrelevant. They’re not positioning the students to solve the problems of the future. We need to update the curriculum so that new students are able to learn new skills that are already in place in other markets around the world.”

For more information on Apprenticeships in automotive fields in South Africa, visit our Apprenticeships pages

This article has been adapted from an original article and interview on Cape Talk. 

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