The Future Of Eco-Friendly Cars In South Africa

Sep 20, 2023 | Car

South Africa is a country with a rich cultural heritage, but it’s also a country facing significant environmental challenges. As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, South Africa has the opportunity to embrace environmentally friendly cars as a part of its modern heritage.

Let’s take a peek at the future of eco-friendly cars in South Africa and how this shift could become a part of the country’s modern heritage.

What’s Meant By Eco-Friendly Cars?

Generally speaking, an eco-friendly car is a vehicle that pollutes less and runs more efficiently than regular vehicles. It’s a fairly broad definition, which means that vehicles can be classified as eco-friendly whether they’re powered by petrol, diesel, or an alternative fuel source.

The different types include electric vehicles (these electric motors are considered the greenest), hybrid vehicles (running off electric batteries or fuel), fuel cell vehicles (a type of electric car that uses electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell), and a few others.

The Current State Of Electric Vehicles In South Africa

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular around the world, which is unsurprising given that environmental concerns are growing, the increasing availability of EV models, and consequently, the slowly dropping price of EVs. But in South Africa, the adoption of EVs has been slow – at least, according to what we see on the road and, perhaps more convincingly, a report by E3G.

In fact, as of 2019, there were only around 900 EVs registered in the country.

From what the report states, it seems that this could be down to the lack of infrastructure, high costs, and lack of government support. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because the report also noted that African countries could very well become a fast-growing source of demand for EVs.

Eco-Friendly Cars Currently Available

Currently, there’s not the widest range of eco-friendly cars on the market in South Africa, but we can point out a few of the options available.

Here’s an example of the greenest cars in the land:

  • BMW i3 (electric car with no emissions)
  • Jaguar I-Pace (electric car)
  • Volkswagen Polo (70kW TSI BMT Trendline and 70kW TSI BMT Comfortline are the “greenest” in the range, with emissions of a mere 103 g/km)
  • Toyota Prius (hybrid which emits just 87 g/km)
  • Halal Joloin 1.5 (hybrid luxury)
  • Volvo XC90 (petrol engine and an electric motor, emitting a low 49 g/km)
  • BMW i8 (sportscar which emits a mere 49 g/km of CO2)
  • Lexus UX (emits 103 g/km of CO2)
  • Mercedes-Benz EQC (the all-new zero-emission EQC electric SUV)
  • 1.5 TDCi Trend Ford Fiesta (emissions of a mere 84 g/km of CO2)
  • Nissan Micra (low emissions of 115 g/km of CO2)
  • Toyota Corolla Cross 1.8 (hybrid)
  • Honda Fit (hybrid)

Education Is Key

Education is a key factor in promoting sustainability and encouraging the adoption of environmentally friendly cars. A study published in MDPI found that formal environmental education at all school levels can help raise awareness on our role in how the planet is affected by human existence and how education can play a critical role in promoting sustainable development and reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

In short, the shift that eco-friendly cars could impose on how South Africa moves forward in its efforts towards sustainability is, in some part, down to how we educate young South Africans.

The National Development Plan 2030

Let’s look at what the Government has in mind. Starting with the National Development Plan 2030, which is the Government’s strategy for the country to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through uniting South Africans, unleashing the country’s human potential, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.

What does this have to do with eco-friendly cars? Well, the Plan recognises the importance of sustainable development and the need to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. There are several targets related to the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy, and improving waste management.

What fits neatly into these targets is the growing availability of eco-friendly cars, which produce no carbon dioxide or other harmful emissions when driving, thus reducing air pollution.

Put simply, electric cars give us cleaner streets, fresher air, and a planet that exists for that much longer. Car manufacturers looking to support the Government’s Plan will be motivated to roll out more models at an array of prices that more people can afford.

The Challenges of Adopting Environmentally Friendly Cars

We can’t discuss the future of eco-friendly cars without acknowledging the challenges. Certainly, one of the biggest challenges is the lack of infrastructure, including charging stations for EVs and hybrids. Another challenge is the high cost of eco- friendly cars, which can make them inaccessible to many South Africans. Finally, there is a lack of government support for environmentally friendly cars, which can make it difficult for companies to invest in the technology.

Feel informed?

As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, South Africa has the opportunity to lead the way and become a model for other countries to follow. This is an exciting space to watch, and we hope that this info have proven enlightening.

Don’t forget that AA Inform is home to a range of useful tools and resources, including this handy Fuel Consumption Calculator or access to the AA Insurance Supermarket, an insurance brokerage that provides you with multiple car insurance quotes from reputable insurance providers to choose from.

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