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Friday, Feb 23rd

Electro-Mobility poised for take-off in Africa

Electro-Mobility poised for take-off in Africa

The UN agency and Environment Electric Mobility Program in Africa has ambitions to triple the number of passenger cars on the continent and thereby double the demand for oil for transport between now and 2040.

The agency says looking ahead, electric mobility will be one of the best ways to transport people, despite current challenges in the region which include capacity limitations on power grids and a lack of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Alex Koerner, head of the Nairobi-based UN Environment Electric Mobility Program for Africa presented the organisation's strategy or 'eMob' during the Electric Vehicle Industry Association's 2017 Conference in Johannesburg.

"This program targets the reduction of energy use, greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from the transport sector. The focus is on transitional and developing countries. Together with our regional partners, UN Environment supports the development of adequate policy packages, the setup of pilot projects as well as strategies to finance the transformation toward electric mobility. The program is divided into three pillars focusing on electric three and two wheelers, electric light duty vehicles and electric buses. These three are the most promising electric mobility applications."

Koerner says eMob is looking to establish an industry partnership. He believes the uptake of electric cars in Africa will follow the pattern of conventional cars with most emerging out of imports of used vehicles from Japan and parts of Europe.

Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Morocco have the support of UN Environment for introduction of electric two- and three wheel cars.

Tax breaks

"Policies need to be in place to make the import of used electric vehicles as many countries in Africa currently have high taxes on imported cars. In Kenya of example import duty is 235% of the cost, insurance and freight of the car. There are plenty of opportunities to incentivise the purchase of used electric vehicles through tax breaks."

Gerhard Fourie, ‎Chief Director at South Africa's ‎Department of Trade and Industry says tax breaks for the introduction of electric vehicles will be possible once the industry finds a single voice on the issue.

"The problem now is that car makers don't have an opinion on how this should be done in order to satisfy all their needs. It is also an issue of scale as the demand is not very high at the moment. Electric cars need to be selling at more than 50 000 per year for a more impactful voice in the industry."


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