Electric vehicles in South Africa – These are your options

Electric cars have come under the spotlight in recent years as a way to reduce the effect of traditional, fuel-powered motor vehicles on the environment.

Leading the charge has been Elon Musk’s motor vehicle company, Tesla, with its Model 3 being one of America’s bestselling sedans, and the bestselling electric car in the world.

Tesla does not yet sell its vehicles in the South African market, but Elon Musk has previously tweeted that he hopes to open a Tesla store in South Africa before the end of this year.

Slow uptake

Former Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, released statistics in March which highlighted that there were only 867 electric vehicles currently operating in South Africa.

One of the reasons for this low number could be that customers do not trust Eskom to provide them with reliable vehicle charging access.

This is due to the threat of load-shedding and Eskom’s well-documented infrastructural issues.

Another reason for this could be that consumers are worried that there is a lack of charging stations available across the country, although this situation is improving.

“According to GridCars, the largest installer of public charging stations in South Africa, they will have 200 EV charging stations installed in the country by the end of March 2019 in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, BMW South Africa, and Shell South Africa,” Nzimande told BusinessTech.

These are the electric vehicles currently available to those who wish to make the jump from fuel-powered vehicles.

BMW i3

bmw i3

The BMW i3 is a fully-electric hatchback capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in just 6.9 seconds.

It offers up to 135kW of power and up to 270Nm of torque.

It packs in a collection of important safety features including ABS, brake assist, traction control, and six airbags.

Pricing begins at R658,500 for the i3 eDrive and R716,900 for the i3 s eDrive.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf 1 Headline

The Nissan Leaf is a more affordable electric hatchback, and as a result doesn’t boast the performance specifications of the i3.

It offers up to 254 Nm of torque and up to 80kW of power, resulting in a top speed of 144km/h and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 11.5 seconds.

It includes a 360V battery which lasts for up to 160km, along with ABS, brake assist, and four airbags. The Nissan Leaf costs R504,975.

Jaguar I-Pace


Jaguar has entered the South African electric vehicle market with a luxury all-electric SUV.

It boasts remarkable performance and is capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

One full charge gives drivers a range of 470km, thanks to the vehicle’s 90kWh battery.

The Jaguar I-Pace is driven by two electric motors, generating 294kW of power and 696Nm of torque.

The I-Pace features six airbags, including coverage for the drive and passenger, the side curtain, and the thorax.

Other security features available include cruise control, lane keep assist, parking assistance, high speed emergency braking, blind spot assist, and a rear traffic-monitoring system for reversing.

Jaguar I-Pace pricing starts at R1,672,230.

Now read: Tesla starts taking orders for made-in-China Model 3

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Electric vehicles in South Africa – These are your options