South Africa is at a tipping point: we must embrace electric vehicles (EVs) – not just because of the environmental impact, but also because of the economic benefits. “This is something I’ve said time and again, but now I’ve put my money where my mouth is – by investing in an EV,” said AutoTrader’s CEO, George Mienie.
The car that has been purchased is a Jaguar I-PACE. And he says it represents a bitter-sweet moment.
“I’ve spent decades enjoying the sound of powerful petrol and diesel engines, particularly V8s, which I love! (in cars and planes). Now, when it comes to cars, I’m ending my love affair with the internal combustion engine. But this is undoubtedly the right thing to do! More than 60% of our car exports are destined for Europe – and that continent is going fully electric. South Africa risks being left behind if we don’t start to turn our attention to electric cars. We have to stimulate local demand for these cars!” he warns.
Mienie says that it is vitally important that the governing bodies provide consumers and local assemblers (OEMs) with incentives to buy EVs. For more read: South Africa Must Accelerate Its Electric Car Plan To Avoid Export Revenue and Job Losses
“Lowering the cost of the average car to a price that is more affordable and in line with consumer demand, which according to our research is under R500 000, is vitally important. But equally, consumers need confidence that they can charge their cars, this means that the government needs to not only invest in the much-needed upgrade of the power grid, but also to incentivise investment into charging infrastructure,” he points out.
AutoTrader has committed its extensive resources to champion consumer education on owning an EV, with the intention of stimulating EV purchases locally.
“AutoTrader commands almost ten million monthly consumer visits across desktop, tablets and mobile devices. I point this out because we are part of a big online community that can drive the change to EVs going forward.”
Now he looks forward to sharing his experiences with an EV first-hand with South African consumers and AutoTrader’s car-buying customers.
“I will use the I-PACE daily and experience life with an EV. This will allow the AutoTrader team to better understand the benefits and pitfalls of this vehicle category. It will provide an optimal opportunity to capture and create stimulating content that will educate fellow South Africans on the realities of owning an EV,” Mienie points out.
So now Mienie has ticked the EV car box, which begs the question: what about his passion for flying? After all, aircraft currently have internal combustion engines. “I am looking forward to the day when electric planes become commercially available,” he concludes.