Increased exposure, cost concerns among insights revealed by AutoTrader’s EV buyers survey

17th November 2023 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

AutoTrader’s 2023 South Africa Electric Vehicle (EV) Buyers Survey shows that 63% of respondents believe they would purchase an EV within the next five years, down from 65% in 2022.

Some marginally better news is that 7% of respondents indicated that they would never purchase an EV in 2023. A year ago this figure was 6%.

While EV adoption remains low and slow in South Africa, EV experience, however, has seen an increase, with 12% of respondents having been in an EV last year, compared with almost 20% in 2023, with 18- to 24-year-olds having the most EV exposure.

The survey also reveals that 59% of respondents noted that they were willing to spend up to R500 000 on an EV, down from 64% in 2022, 72% in 2021, and 74% in 2020, which indicates that people are becoming increasingly willing to spend more on an EV.

EVs are, on average, still significantly more expensive than comparable internal combustion engine vehicles.

There is currently no battery EV on the South African market priced below R500 000.

Survey respondents noted that an EV’s higher price point remained its biggest drawback, along with charging time, lack of charging infrastructure in the country and the impact of loadshedding.

Its main advantages according to respondents? Reduced carbon emissions, reduced air pollution and cheaper running costs.

Men, it turned out, were more willing to spend in excess of R500 000 on an EV, while women appeared more concerned with performance, higher resale value, and safety than their male counterparts. They were also more optimistic about an EV’s ability to produce a range of 500 km-plus.

Significantly, 82% of respondents said they would consider purchasing an EV if it could be fully charged in under an hour at a fast charging station.

As to charging costs, people aged over 34 were the most realistic, estimating the cost to charge within the R200 to R500 price range.

The report also notes that respondents viewed BMW as the most trusted EV manufacturer in South Africa (52% of respondents), ahead of Mercedes-Benz (43.3%) and Toyota (37%), while battery efficiency, safety and price were cited as the top considerations when buying an EV.