Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says electric cars present an opportunity for SA’s motor industry.
Eskom’s CEO Andre de Ruyter says the power utility wants to be an “anchor market for electric vehicles” in South Africa. Only 1 000 electric vehicles have been sold in the country since 2015. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA has warned that SA’s car manufacturing industry could lose out unless it starts producing EVs. Eskom is considering buying a fleet of electrically powered light delivery vehicles, according to its CEO Andre de Ruyter.
“We buy hundreds of light delivery vehicles every year and we would like to explore the opportunity to pivot the motor industry to electric vehicles by using our own demand for locally manufactured EVs to enable investment,” the head of the power utility said during an address at the University of Pretoria on Tuesday evening.
“The priority will be on light delivery vehicles, as these are critical in Eskom’s operations.”
“We are keen to act as an anchor market for electric vehicles, not least because we see it as an important growth opportunity for our business.”
While electric vehicle sales have shown strong growth globally over the past five years, SA’s market is still tiny. De Ruyter said that only 1000 vehicles had been sold since 2015, “predominantly in the luxury sector”.
According to the International Energy Agency, there were 10 million electric cars on the world’s roads at the end of 2020 following a “decade of rapid growth”. In 2020 alone, 3 million electric cars were sold globally, just under 5% of all cars.
De Ruyter said that by acting as an “anchor market”, Eskom could help the country’s motor vehicle industry start moving from producing petrol and diesel cars and bakkies to electric ones.
“Demand drives investment, predictability of demand drives investment,” he said. He did not provide further information on when Eskom would make a decision to obtain eclectic vehicles, how much they were expected to cost, or where it would source them from.
READ | Eskom’s De Ruyter takes dig at ‘long-term contracts’ for floating powershipsThe Eskom CEO noted that the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa warned last year that the country’s motor industry could lose 80% of its exports by 2040, as countries announce timetables to prohibit the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles.
“This therefore calls for South Africa to take the lead, and prepare to exploit this opportunity and produce electric vehicles for export, as well as for domestic use.”