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FOREWORD FROM THE DIRECTOR GENERAL: Department of Trade and Industry

The government of South Africa has a mandate to grow an inclusive economy, building capabilities enhancing the capability of the state and leaders working together to solve complex problems At the core of this is a hierarchical coordination by different institutions including partnerships between government, private sector and international donors supported by different legislative policy frameworks. While South Africa is facing a number of socio-economic challenges such as skills shortages, insufficient innovation and technology, slow economic growth resulting in high rate of unemployment, especially among youth, it has to deal with global challenges such as climate change.

In the wake of global efforts to curb the emission of climate change impacting greenhouse gases and the emission of exhaust gases that are detrimental to human health, these are important times for South Africa to continue demonstrating to the world its capabilities. Transport is identified as the second largest contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions both domestically and globally and hence cannot be ignored when developing policies to curb such emissions. Currently the world is in the process of greening the transport sector and South Africa is party to these initiatives.

In the current iteration of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP 2015/2016 – 2017/2018), the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in collaboration with the United Nations Industry Development Organization (UNIDO) set as one of its priorities a project to facilitate and promote the introduction of Electric Vehicles (EVs) through the South African Low-Carbon Transport Project. This is a project that will culminate among others in the erection of EV charging infrastructure and awareness raising campaigns targeting this technology.

However, this is not the first instance of electrifying transportation modes in South Africa, the Class 1 E electric locomotives were first introduced to the market as early as mid-1920s. Continued improvement in the rail infrastructure led to the recent addition of high speed locomotives like the Gautrain, the local manufacturing of a prototype electric car – the Joule and gas-driven Bus Rapid Transit Systems that we are so proud of today. Our economic growth objectives oblige all of us to tackle these challenges using our collective accountability by drawing on our collective successes and failures as a nation. We need to unite in developing a sustainable mobility roadmap towards building united electro mobility in South Africa. This will lead to eminent solutions in the sector by demonstrating South Africa’s capability as an aspiring and crucial player in the global auto industry space. These projects undeniably put this country on the global map, not only as a consumer, but also as producer of automotive goods.

The South African government has developed tools to promote the development of the automotive industry sector including the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) support scheme, and public procurement as means to develop the sector. Incentive schemes such as the people carrier and medium to heavy commercial vehicle and component manufacturers are aimed at stimulating investments to the automotive industry sector value-chain. These schemes are designed to encourage growth through investment in new and/ or replacement models and components that will result in new or retention of employment and/or strengthen the automotive value chain. EVs and related components are not excluded. Companies are therefore welcomed to set up facilities in this country to manufacture EVs and related components including lithium-ion batteries and others for the domestic and export markets.

Efforts to introduce EVs in South Africa came at a time when the country is also busy introducing renewable energy in the energy mix. There are therefore obvious synergies between such efforts. For an EV to fully enjoy the “zero emissions” status such a vehicle has to be charged from a truly renewable energy source. With the existence in South Africa of at least 10 slow charging points reported in the 2016 Global EV outlook, the ideal situation would be for such charging stations to receive their power from renewable energy sources. Surplus power can then be stored in battery packs for later use during peak periods. This therefore provides further opportunities for the recycling of old EV batteries to store renewable energy generated from solar, wind and other technologies

To create comfort to the end users and stimulate market uptake, a few areas however still require improvement on the part of electric vehicle OEMs and emerging component manufacturers. The short driving range as well as the relatively higher costs associated with the purchase of EVs are some of the areas which through the EVIA initiative, can be addressed. South Africa has developed an EV Industry Roadmap which take a very positive stance towards supporting the EV industry. The development of the EV industry is in line with the government priorities of reducing greenhouse gases which have negative impacts on the environment, increasing localisation and industrialisation.

Lionel October

Director General
The Department of Trade and Industry

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