“As battery prices drop and motorists become more environmentally conscious, the global market for ‘green’ cars is growing – in some countries, exponentially.”
Motorists and car companies across the globe are going green. Volvo has announced that fully electric cars will make up 50% of its sales by 2025. In the United Kingdom, new registrations of plug-in cars have increased from 3 500 in 2013 to more than 150 000 in May 2018. Last year, a whopping 777 000 new-energy vehicles – electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids – were sold in China, 53% more than 2016. Experts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance believe that electric cars will account for approximately 35% of all car sales globally by 2040.
According to George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader, there are a number of reasons for this growth. “Batteries are becoming cheaper – prices have dropped by 65% since 2010 – and there are more charging stations around the world,” he comments. In fact, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted that electric vehicles will cost less than conventional diesel and petrol cars when it comes to total ownership (a combination of purchase price and running costs) by 2022.
Mienie says motorists are also becoming more environmentally conscious. “More people are thinking about the environment. This is especially the case with Millennials and Generation X,” he notes. Furthermore, vehicle range has increased, relieving so-called “range anxiety”.
In South Africa, there is interest in ‘green’ technology, as search statistics from AutoTrader, South Africa’s leading marketplace for buying and selling new and used cars, reveal.
One of the most popular ‘green’ cars is the BMW i8. “From January 2017 to March 2018, we recorded over 110 000 searches specifically for the i8. This is interesting because the car is one of the most expensive out of all the ‘green’ cars (the Roadster costs R2 329 300 new),” says Mienie.
Another very popular vehicle is yet another BMW. “The i3 recorded over 130,000 searches in the same period,” says Mienie.
Other vehicles that capture interest from the South African market include the Toyota Prius, the Honda CR-Z and the Nissan Leaf.
Mienie says it will be interesting to see how this market develops. “Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted that the global electric car fleet will comprise 530 million vehicles by 2040” Mienie comments. How many of these vehicles will be in South Africa? “That will depend largely on affordability, which is a significant factor in our market. If, as is predicted, the cost of ‘green’ vehicles will be the same as petrol or diesel-engined vehicles, we can expect to see lots of ‘green’ vehicles on our roads,” he concludes.