Volkswagen South Africa eyes Rwanda’s electric vehicle market

SOUTH AFRICA – Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), leading electric car producer in Africa, has unveiled plans of introducing electric cars in Rwanda, reports Business Report.

According to Thomas Schaefer, managing director of VWSA, the motor company has already conducted a market survey in the country and confirmed suitability of the venture.

“We did a grid check in Rwanda together with GRZ (Technologies) and Siemens last year and they are ready. They already get their electricity from 70percent renewable energy and that will change to 100percent in the next 10 years,” Thomas said

Schaefer said that the frim intends to fill the gap presented by the “super expensive” petroleum products in the country.

“They are trucking their fuel from the Middle East to Dar es Salaam, then 3000km by road into Kigali. What for? They could immediately go electric.

When we had discussions with Rwanda in the last year, they said their drive is on green and sustainability and environmental protection and to bring electric cars,” he said.

Additionally, according to Schaefer, Africa is likely to adopt new technologies at a faster rate than developed world citing the case in telecommunications, hence expressed confidence in the countries on investments in new technologies.

This is despite the motor company selling only 66 electric vehicles sales in South Africa last year, a decline from 177 in 2015, and virtually zero in the rest of Africa.

In June last year, VWSA launched the first integrated mobility solution in Rwanda as the first of its kind in Africa, and possibly the world.

This was part of a strategy to play a leading role in the emerging automotive industry in Africa and comprised semi-knocked down local assembly, a new vehicle business and innovative mobility services in Rwanda.

According to Andrew Kirby, the president and chief executive of Toyota South Africa Motors, sales trends for hybrid and electric vehicles in South Africa were completely contrary to global trends – which declined to 135 units last year from 646 in 2014.

 “With the pressure on affordability in South Africa and the fact we don’t have any specific targeted government support in those two areas means we haven’t seen South Africa starting to follow what is happening around the world,” he said.

Kirby said if sales of electric and hybrid vehicles were stimulated in South Africa, it would be stimulating the sale of imports and expensive vehicles, which was not a solution for South Africa.

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