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Company calls for Finance Minister to announce incentives to drive EV industry growth

19th February 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Electric vehicle (EV) renewable energy charging infrastructure company Zero Carbon Charge is calling on Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to announce a series of fiscal measures to incentivise the growth of the EV industry.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in the State of the Nation Address earlier this month that government had “decided to support EV manufacturing in South Africa to grow our automotive sector, which provides good jobs to thousands of workers”.

"It is up to the Finance Minister to outline exactly how government intends to do this through a favourable tariff and subsidy regime to stimulate local EV production," the company said ahead of the 2024 Budget, which is set to be delivered on February 21.

Equally importantly, Zero Carbon Charge states, is that Godongwana must consider a policy framework and incentives for the development of a national network of off-grid EV charging stations powered by renewable energy. This could include rebates for drivers who charge their vehicles with electricity sourced from renewable energy charging facilities.

When it comes to the regulatory environment, government should consider less stringent land use and environmental application processes to establish solar-powered charging stations, Zero Carbon Charge stated.

The EV White Paper, released in November noted that “the transition to EVs will only truly be low-carbon once charging infrastructure has shifted materially to renewable energy sources. The implication is that the use of renewable energy-based systems to power charging stations is important for allaying prospective consumers’ concerns related to grid power supply and availing a truly low-carbon transition”.

Zero Carbon Charge’s own research shows that an EV charged by State-owned Eskom’s predominantly coal-fired grid emits 5.3 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in a year, which is higher than a petrol vehicle that on average emits 4.4 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in a year if driven over the same distance.

The upshot is that, for EVs to be truly green, they must be charged with renewable energy, the company emphasised.

Additionally, government’s draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 has revealed that South Africa’s grid will not be able to cope with the demands imposed on it by the future growth of EVs.

It is, therefore, critical that government prioritises the development of off-grid EV charging stations based on renewable sources, Zero Carbon Charge added.

“Zero Carbon Charge is building 120 charging facilities approximately 150 km apart that are completely off-grid and powered by solar photovoltaic. The super-chargers that will be installed at these facilities will be able to charge any electric vehicle at its maximum charging rate,” said Zero Carbon Charge co-founder and director Andries Malherbe.

Further, the full network of charging facilities will be operational by September 2025, pending regulatory approvals, and will offer EV owners a clean, reliable source of power to charge their vehicles while travelling across South Africa.

“It is crucial that government shifts its focus to the creation of renewable energy charging stations. Any strategies or financial incentives aimed at encouraging the EV transition in Wednesday’s Budget Speech must include this as a priority area,” said Zero Carbon Charge co-founder and director Joubert Roux.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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