Drivers in the market for an EV have paid over R1m. That’s set to change with three new vehicles.

Despite a tough economic climate and no reduced import duties on electric vehicles in South Africa, there are several EVs coming to market this year for under R800 000.

This is significant for the local market because up until this point, save for the Mini Cooper SE, all EVs in South Africa have come in upwards of R1 million.

The three new vehicles will fall in the R700-R800k bracket, including two new Chinese EV entrants packed with the latest technology that promise consumers more car for their money.

The non-Chinese one of these vehicles is the Volvo EX30 compact SUV, which can only be ordered online at It starts at R775 900.

The base model features a single motor powered by a 51kWh battery with 344km (Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure – WLTP figures) of range that will go from 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds. It has a total output of 200kW and 343Nm of torque.

Greg Maruszewski, managing director at Volvo SA, says: “The volume expectations are high for us globally, but also locally. We spent a lot of time and effort to price the car just right.

“What we’ve tried to do is offer the South African public a car that’s full electric, a luxury SUV from a premium brand, for more or less the price of a car that’s similar in spec and size, but with a normal ICE engine.”

The EX30 will be offered in five variants, and the two 69kWh twin motor performance models happen to be the fastest Volvos ever made. It will go from 0-100km/h in a ludicrous 3.6 seconds.

Both performance models will have a range of 460km (WLTP figures), but the 200kW powered Plus variant will sell for R935 900, and the top-of-the-line 315kW Ultra will come in at R995 900.

The other two brands, Great Wall Motors (GWM), which operate as Haval Motors SA, and Build Your Dreams (BYD) are doing what Chinese brands do best: spec their cars with loads of extras as standard, thus undercutting the competition.

Extra specs

The GWM Ora, a compact hatchback aimed at city driving, is expected to sell for R716 900, which will make it the cheapest – or rather, least expensive – EV in the country, a title held by the Mini Cooper SE since it launched in South Africa in August 2020.

Brainstorm was given the opportunity to drive the top-of-the-line Ora 400 GT briefly, which is expected to sell for R915 900. While the full spec for the local market has not been made public, it’s equipped with a 63kWh battery and up to 400km of range (WLTP figures).

Other features include self-parking, hands-free tailgate, a large dual screen infotainment and driver display, and massaging seats in the front. Despite the company announcing prices in Q2 this year, the launch of the Ora has now been pushed back.

Conrad Groenewald, chief operations officer at Haval Motors SA, says consumer confidence has been dented by the fact that it’s a challenger brand, as well as the prevalence of loadshedding. These factors led to it delaying the launch of the Ora. Groenewald says GWM wants to sell the Ora with a fully integrated system to consumers through S-Volt, a subsidiary of GWM, which make inverters with batteries for commercial use and home charging solutions.

“S-Volt recently came into South Africa and received a licence to operate in May. We are waiting for this division to come in with chargeable solutions so we can launch the Ora with a home charging option,” he says.

We are busy testing the solutions,” adds Groenewald. “We are already talking to the banks; there will be a vehicle finance component with the charging of the vehicle, and there will also be an option on your bond for the charging solution.”

The delayed launch will also mean the battery cost of vehicles will come down, says Groenewald, which lets GWM launch at a price to really challenge the market.


Another EV that will challenge the market in a different way is BYD’s Atto 3 through its unique vehicle-to-load (V2L) feature that can also power a home. It can provide a 3.3kW per hour electric supply for appliances, which is effectively a giant powerbank for the home or the road.

The Atto 3 will be available in two derivates: in a standard 50kWh battery for R768 000, and an extended range 60kWh priced at R835 000. Customers are expected to take delivery in September.

When BYD launched at the end of June, it cited a growing market demand for cleaner transportation options, and it’s promoting the development of the EV industry in South Africa which will create jobs and a sustainable economic growth.

It plans to have eight dealerships by the end of the year, and some will be equipped with charging stations. Charging accessories will form part of its after-sales plan.

According to Counterpoint research, one in every seven cars sold globally in Q1 2023 was an EV, and BYD is the number one EV manufacturer, accounting for 21.10% of all EV sales, followed by Tesla at 16.01% and VW at 6.88% in the same period.

Counterpoint predicts total EV sales will reach 14.5 million by the end of 2023, after crossing the 10 million mark in 2022.

Originally published here: