I thought it would be an interesting exercise to try and work out how much some of the most popular EV's (electric vehicles) in the UK would cost if they were available in South Africa. Firstly I compared the price of the BMW i3, which is available in both the United Kingdom and South Africa. That comparison gave me a conversion ratio of just over R17 to the pound, just over the actual current exchange rate. Anyway here are seven electric cars we don't have in South Africa, seven electric vehicles we'd like to see in South Africa and a guesstimate on how much we'd have to pay for them.So there you have a rough price guide to cars you can't yet buy in the country. In the UK at the moment consumers would pay less than these prices due to government incentives. At the moment there are no such incentives in SA, if incentives were implemented (or the 25% import tax was dropped) then local auto distributors might be more confident that if they import more electric cars, they'll have a better chance of selling them.
- Renault Zoe (R318,356 - R446,594) The latest version of the Renault Zoe has a 41kwh battery and an impressive claimed range of up to 400km. Out of the cars surveyed here it is the cheapest, but you also have to pay a rental/lease on the battery so the eventual cost will work out a bit more. Still, it's in the VW Golf price range and depending on how much extra you'd have to fork out for the battery, it appears quite a good buy.
- Volkswagen e-up (R432,135) A small EV from VW with an 18.7kwh battery giving a range of 160km. Though in electric car terms it's relatively cheap, it's still a lot to pay for such a small vehicle.
- Hyundai Ioniq (R499,094 - R530,077) The Ioniq comes in both hybrid and battery only options. Of course we're interested in the battery only. The range should be about 200km from it's 28kwh battery. This is probably the most interesting car on the list and overall the best value for money. It should cost about the same as what a Nissan Leaf does in South Africa, yet it has 65km more range than the 24kwh Leaf on offer here.
- Ford Focus Electric (R540,495) The Focus Electric has a 23kwh battery and a relatively low (by 2017 standards) range of 122km. Probably best this doesn't come to South Africa as I can't think of a reason why anyone would want to buy it.
- Volkswagen e-Golf (R545,311) Like all VW's the e-Golf comes at a premium price. It seems to be capable of a similar range as the Ioniq with it's 35.8kwh battery.
- Tesla Model S (R1,033,389 - R1,775,274) The luxury sedan from Tesla would most likely start at over a million Rand. I see no reason though why it wouldn't sell in meaningful numbers. There are plenty of cars in this price range on South African roads, including the half electric hybrid BMW i8.
- Tesla Model X (R1,258,881 - R1,864,782) Considering the popularity of SUV's in South Africa, it would be no surprise if the Model X was to be more popular than the Model S.