AIDC-EC partners with electric vehicle road trip Africa 2024

The 2024 edition of the electric vehicle road trip (evrt) Africa, a travelling showcase of electric vehicles (EV), will be even bigger and better than before as the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC-EC) gets on board as a partner.

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For the first time, the event, which will take place from 15 February to 24 February next year, will include a jam-packed stop in Gqeberha.

The AIDC-EC’s partnership was announced at the launch of the 2024 event on 24 February.

“Our partnership involves bringing evrt Africa and its whole fleet of electric cars to the Eastern Cape as part of promoting EV and the green economy,” said AIDC EC CEO Thabo Shenxane. He added: “The province is the largest manufacturer of cars in the country, and we export cars to Europe, so the transition to electric is very important. We are also doing lots of work convincing the provincial government to start investing in EV infrastructure and the skills around the EV industry.'

Group Director of Mobility at Vuka Group Ben Pullen and AIDC EC CEO Thabo Shenxane

“Two of our biggest manufacturers export cars to Europe, and Europe has already declared that by 2035 they weren’t consuming any internal combustion engines – which means we need to change. And so, if we don’t create an environment that’s conducive to manufacturing and exporting EVs then the industry will leave the country, which would be catastrophic for a province like the Eastern Cape. We have seen the departure of one major car manufacturer in the Eastern Cape, which left thousands jobless, we would not like to see that again.”

Group Director of Mobility at Vuka Group, Ben Pullen, who brought evrt Africa to South Africa in 2019, said that the 2024 event aimed to be the most exciting road trip in the world. “Aside from being an incredible real-world showcase of the latest EV technology, which will show South Africans that many of the issues around power supply and charging are really only perceived limitations, the road trip will be about enjoying the country’s scenery, food, adventure activities and culture.”

The event will also incorporate the electric Go Green Africa torch symbolising the need and opportunity for African organisations to Go Green over the next 10 years. The electric torch will be lit at the start of the evrt Africa and carried from towns and cities across many of South Africa’s provinces.

“evrt Africa 2024 is all about driving the adoption of EVs and related technologies, and with the support of partners like AIDC-EC, we are able to give this showcase a far greater reach and highlight the possibilities of the green economy as symbolised by the Go Green Africa torch,” added Pullen.

South African consumers are increasingly interested in EVs. Although battery electric cars remain the ultimate prize, AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie, said that the company’s latest Hybrid Car Buyers Survey revealed that hybrids were in particular demand because of their current price point.

“Advert views for hybrids have increased by 44% year-on-year (yoy), and enquiries 64% yoy, in addition, 45% of respondents said they’d consider buying a hybrid in the next few years. In order to achieve mass adoption of electric vehicles, surveys have shown that we have to get the cost below R500 000. This is why we say that there is a middle step for the mass market, and that is in the hybrid. Consumers want battery electric but it’s too expensive today. What is fundamental though, is education around what hybrids can offer.”

Eskom Distribution was in support of the event, and Group Executive, Monde Bala, shared their vision to electrify around 20% of their vehicles by 2025, which could drive demand of electric vehicles in the country, given that Eskom Distribution has more than 10 000 vehicles in its fleet.

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