South Africa enters Electric Automobile Era

Nissan Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG are among carmakers in talks to bring the electric-car revolution to South Africa, as the nation’s auto-factory floors risk being left behind in the global switch to greener vehicles.

The industry is preparing a unified stance on electrification to present to the government by the end of the year, according to Mike Mabasa, chief executive officer of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa. Among the goals is persuading lawmakers to reduce or drop a 23% import tariff on electric vehicles to help ramp up nascent domestic sales, he said. Another is to roll out charging infrastructure in a country where the state-owned power monopoly is in deep financial crisis.

To date, there are no firm plans for electric-car or hybrid production in South Africa, but the government and industry agreed in 2018 to extend a manufacturing incentive program, creating jobs and enabling models like the BMW X3 sport utility vehicle and Nissan’s Novara pickup to be produced locally.

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