Technology critical to the transition to electromobility

South Africa lacks the electrical engineering and mechatronics skills needed to fuel the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market across its value chain.

This is one of the key outcomes of the 2022 Green Economy Market Intelligence. report Edited by non-profit GreenCape.

This study is one of several studies developed in collaboration with the Western Cape Government Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Western Cape Government Department of Agriculture, and the City of Cape Town Department of Business and Investment.

It also highlights the Western Cape’s current green economy investment opportunities while providing a national context.

According to the report, SA’s lack of EV technology talent to fuel the steady growth of the all-electric, battery-powered, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle market. A shortage of professional maintenance technicians and engineers could potentially put the local EV sector at risk, he says.

SA’s EV market lags behind the global market, with just over 15,000 units on the road. However, experts say, according to the Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2022 report, more growth is possible if favorable conditions are created.

South Africa is a major manufacturer and exporter of automobiles, and according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition, the regional automobile industry is valued as the 5th largest export sector in the regional economy in 2021, contributing 6.4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). (DTIC).

SA’s main export car markets, including the UK and Europe, are: introduction A policy to halt imports of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 as more governments worldwide accelerate their journey towards sustainable resource consumption.

According to the GreenCape report, local production is essential to contribute to the country’s economy, so OEMs need to have enough technology to embrace local EV manufacturing and boost adoption.

“The current automotive market lacks technology and lacks ancillary services to adapt to the growth of the EV manufacturing industry. More electrical engineering and mechatronics skills are required.

“There is a need to improve the skills of existing technicians to facilitate the transition to electromobility. This training is also essential for first-class emergency responders, dealerships, and aftermarket services. This is because these sectors play an important role in a functioning transportation sector,” the report explains.

According to the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa, the growing shortage of digital skills remains one of the biggest challenges facing businesses and has become a major threat to SA’s progress in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Electric vehicles are widely believed to play a key role in the move to a smart, low-carbon future, and various players are attempting to shape the South African electric vehicle market, but with mixed results.

In 2008, Optimal Energy unveiled the Joule, SA’s first locally produced and designed all-electric vehicle, but withdrew the car. close the door until mid-2012.

Since then, several manufacturers, including EV startups, have been involved in the local manufacturing of EV components and charging infrastructure.

Toyota Motor SA at the end of last year Announcement 2.6 billion rupees were invested in building the Corolla Cross family of hybrid vehicles, the first hybrid vehicles manufactured on South African soil.

Toyota Corolla Cross.

Toyota Corolla Cross.

Volkswagen SA is conducting research on EV sales in the local market. However, there are no detailed plans for local manufacturing.

According to the GreenCape report, SA needs the foundation needed to transition to an EV platform, and design and development engineers in the mechanical or electronic domain or cross-domain engineering are needed to drive digital transformation in the automotive industry.

New maintenance and aftermarket service capabilities are also required, and SA’s training institutions must produce qualified electrical engineers and mechatronics for their workforce, the report added.

“Nevertheless, automakers and charging infrastructure companies are the most active investors in the market, and the current activity of battery companies is limited. Ultimately, the production cost of EVs will decrease significantly as economies of scale increase. To increase production like this, we need to stimulate local demand for electric vehicles.”

According to GreenCape, the good news is that Western Cape has taken several steps to establish itself as a hub for the EV industry in SA, especially from a technology development perspective.

“Several Western Cape-based organizations are already participating in the EV industry’s technology development value chain as the industry prepares for the imminent transition. These include the Porsche Aftersales Vocational Training and Training Center, the retail automotive industry organizations, the Association of Automobile Remanufacturers and the Vehicle Testing Association, which have introduced training programs to train the automotive workforce in courses focused on technology disruptors in their field. .”

South Africa currently has a limited selection of all-electric vehicles to choose from. These include the BMW i3, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Jaguar I-Pace, Range Rover Sport, BMW iX, Mini Cooper SE, Porsche Taycan and Taycan Cross Turismo.

It is expected that more electric vehicles will be launched in the domestic market this year.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last year Announcement The government is paving the way for local production of electric vehicles as part of the new Automobile Production and Development Program (APDP), which took effect in July.

Noting that Toyota Motors SA is setting a trend for more automakers to follow, Ramophosa stressed that local production of EVs will make a significant contribution to SA’s economy.

He pointed out that the government is trying to support the local electric vehicle market through the introduction of new policies such as APDP. Ramophosa said SA is moving forward to develop production capacity that is expected to be a growing part of the regional automotive market.

APDP calls for a globally competitive and transformative industry that actively contributes to the sustainable development of SA’s productive economy, creating prosperity for industry stakeholders and the wider society.

As part of the APDP implementation strategy, DTIC Draft Auto Green Paper It explains the development of SA’s new energy vehicle, which presents a roadmap for SA’s local production of electric vehicles and parts.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (NAAMSA) has been urge The government is trying to create a favorable environment for the import and local production of EVs as an important development in the automobile industry.

According to NAAMSA, other factors to be addressed include lowering EV prices, recycling EV batteries, lowering high import taxes, introducing government incentive programs, and developing more charging infrastructure across SA.

Technology critical to the transition to electromobility

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