Enviro Automotive announces plans for local production

Enviro Automotive, the importer and distributor of Dongfeng Sokon Automobile’s (DFSK) battery-electric vehicles, announced plans for local production in December 2022.

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With this, the company hopes to reduce its products' acquisition cost and make transport operators' investments in commercial electric vehicles (CEVs) more affordable and sustainable.

DFSK, a leading vehicle manufacturer in China, extended its popular C-Series delivery vehicle range in 2007 with battery-electric panel vans and bakkies. Both the EC35 panel van and EC31 one-tonne bakkie soon became very popular in the last-mile delivery environment in the markets where they were sold.

After extensive research into the CEV market, Enviro Automotive was set up to import affordable electric vehicles and to make transport operators' investments in electric vehicles a sustainable long-term solution. One of the first business scenarios Enviro Automotive investigated was to determine the feasibility of a local assembly programme to create additional value for its customers.

"We have years of experience in the renewable energy market, which influenced our decision to start our local assembly programme with the production of battery packs for electric vehicles. This will reduce the acquisition cost of our vehicles and strengthen our competitive position in the fast-growing local electric vehicle market," said Gawie Brink, Technical Director of Enviro Automotive and founder of Solar Europe.

Brink explained that Solar Europe has been operating in South Africa since 2019 and has learnt valuable lessons in the renewable energy market. "Our investigation into renewable energy and to save on delivery costs led us to conduct research into battery-electric light- and heavy commercial vehicles, which saw the formation of Enviro Automotive and the signing of distribution agreements with Chinese manufacturers DFSK and Dayun."

Enviro Automotive's first DFSK test units, customised for harsh African conditions, arrived in the country in June 2022. Since then, they have been on trial at various transport operations to collate data about the vehicles' performance in the local delivery environment.

"The decision to start our local assembly programme with battery packs originates from our expert knowledge and high-tech equipment available at Solar Europe. We have fully equipped workshops and production lines that will now be shared with Enviro Automotive. We also have technicians trained in mechanics and electronics, an excellent skillset in the growing electric vehicle market," said Brink.

Brink explained that the production of battery packs will not only be for their vehicles, but they will also assist other vehicle manufacturers by offering EV products locally to supply and maintain their battery packs.

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