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South Africa: Govt in electric car push

Local car manufacturers could find electric car development more appealing, as government announces incentives to boost production.

Trade and industry minister Rob Davies yesterday announced government plans to give incentives to local car manufacturers to produce electric cars, under a scheme called the Electronic Vehicle Industry Road Map.

This follows the June 2012 closure of Optimal Energy, the Cape-based company behind the Joule, SA’s first electric car. The firm, established in 2005, initially received strong backing from government, but was hit by a funding budget cut by the Department of Science and Technology in 2010. Its ongoing support was then reliant on sourcing backing from a big industry player, which it failed to secure.
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Davies says SA is in the early stages of electric car manufacturing and he is confident in the country’s ability to manufacture these types of vehicles. He admits the closure of Optimal Energy is of concern to government.

“We would like to see an SA-manufactured electric car, but realise this requires serious financial investment and there is a limit to what government can do.”

Davies says the electric car incentive will not only be made available to South African companies, but also to multinational organisations that wish to manufacture electric cars in SA.


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