BMW Group South Africa (BMW SA) will launch the fifth fully electric vehicle (EV) to enter the local market in the middle of next year – the Mini Cooper SE.
This move means BMW SA will also be the first manufacturer to have two EV models available in the local market.
The Mini SE will add to the BMW i3, the Nissan Leaf, the Jaguar I-Pace and the Mercedes-Benz EQC, with the latter also expected on South African roads in 2020.
BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa CEO Tim Abbott says it is too early to reveal the selling price of the Mini SE.
He reiterates, however, that he would like government to significantly reduce the current 25% import duty on EVs, which is leftover legislation from the era of golf cart imports.
He adds that EVs are not about the price paid up front, but rather the lifecycle costs, considering the fact that these vehicles do not have to pull up at the pumps every week.
“EVs are still taxed 25%. We need government to support the global move to EVs. Besides, 25% of nothing, is nothing.
“We need a proper tax regime to really kickstart the EV industry in South Africa.
“We have a long journey ahead of us in South Africa [regarding EVs]. My fear is that we’ll be a rule-taker and not rule-maker.”
BMW will offer 25 electrified vehicles – a term which includes hybrids – to the world market by 2023, with more than half of this number full EVs.
By the end of this year, BMW will have 500 000 electrified vehicles on the road globally. This is set to increase to one-million vehicles by 2021.