SA’s youth keen on buying EVs in future new report finds

  • AutoTrader has released its 2023 Electric Vehicle Buyers Survey, with the positive sentiment around EVs on the rise.
  • The survey finds that South Africans aged 24 to 35 are increasingly inclined to purchase an EV in future.
  • Cost remains a hurdle, however, with charging time and a lack of infrastructure in SA still cited as reasons not to buy an EV.

In recent years more electric vehicles have been launched in South Africa than ever before, which is quite surprising given the ongoing energy crisis in the country. Regardless of what issues or stumbling blocks there are, it looks like the positive sentiment towards buying EVs in SA is on the rise.

Adding credence to those claims is a recent survey conducted and published by AutoTrader. The 2023 Electric Vehicle Buyers Survey, shows that South Africa’s youth in particular are keen on the prospect of buying EVs in future.

To that end, AutoTrader says South Africans aged 24 to 35 are particularly keen on buying EVs in the future, with those older than 65 years naturally less inclined. This sentiment clearly translates into how EVs are currently being marketed.

“While EV adoption remains slow, EV experience has seen an increase with 12% of respondents having been in an EV in 2022 to almost 20% in 2023 with 18-24 year-olds having the most EV exposure,” the survey noted.

As for what the “future” is, 25.6 percent of those surveyed would buy an electric vehicle within the next five years, with the largest portion of 30.4 percent wanting to wait more than five years in order to make their EV purchase.

There are also some who simply have no inclination to buy an EV at all, with that figure sitting at 7 percent, which is up from the 5.9 percent recorded in 2022’s survey.

As such, it is clear that some of the hurdles that stand in the way of EV adoption locally still remain significant deterrents for many.

“The EV’s higher price remains its [EVs] biggest drawback along with charging time, lack of charging infrastructure and impact of load shedding. Its main advantages according to respondents? Reduced carbon emissions, reduced air pollution, and cheaper running costs,” highlighted AutoTrader in a release sent to Hypertext.

While cost is a serious consideration, it does look that resistance to it is softening ever so slightly in the local car buyer market.

“The perceived disadvantage regarding the initial cost to purchase has decreased by 3.4% from 65.2% in 2022 to 62% in 2023. This decrease can be attributed to the introduction of more affordable new EVs in the market this year, as well as a growing used EV car parc, one that offers a cheaper entry point to ownership,” added CEO of AutoTrader, George Mienie.

Looking at some of the other interesting metrics from the report, BMW emerged as the most trusted EV manufacturer (52 percent among respondents), surpassing the likes of fellow German carmaker Mercedes-Benz (43.3 percent) and Toyota (37 percent).

How that will change in the coming years, remains to be seen, especially with more models launching in SA with each passing month.

If you’d like to download and read the report for yourself, head here.


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