Streaming issues? Report here
Africa Melane 1500 x 1500 2020 Africa Melane 1500 x 1500 2020
Early Breakfast with Africa Melane
04:00 - 06:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa
See full line-up
Early Breakfast with Africa Melane
04:00 - 06:00

The future is electric, but is South Africa ready for electric cars?

26 November 2021 1:49 PM
Tags:
BMW
Green energy
Sustainability
electric vehicles
hybrid vehicles
BMW iX
BMW Group South Africa
Deena Govender,
Born Electric
The future is electric, but is South Africa ready for electric cars?

Clement Manyathela speaks to Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

To celebrate the future made possible today, thanks to BMW, Clement Manyathela is chatting to industry experts about innovative sustainable technologies and electric driving.

To unpack BMW's focus on sustainability and their shift to electric vehicles, Clement  Manyathela was joined by Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs. Listen to their chat, while reading, here...

Click below to listen to the conversation while you read:

Electric vehicles (EV's) are without a doubt the way of the future, as automakers take the lead in transitioning from carbon to renewable energy by offering consumers environmentally conscious products.

At the recently concluded COP26 Summit in Glasgow, several countries also committed to work together to make 100% zero emission vehicles the new normal by no later than 2035.

To achieve that, government's have collectively pledged R130bn in a bid to make EV's more accessible and affordable to people, particularly in the developing world.

South Africa however has a plethora of issues holding the country back, most notably an energy crisis as state-owned enterprise Eskom battles to keep the lights on.

So where do electric cars fit into South Africa's future?

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs says given the commitments made by governments' to invest in decarbonising and financing the transition to electric vehicles, South Africa has no choice but to be ready for the change.

Despite the energy challenges South Africa's faces at present, Govender says that as a company, BMW is fully committed to the transition to renewable energy.

The Eskom problem must be fixed. It's not an issue of electric vehicles if we don't fix the Eskom problem and our energy stability and supply. We're in far bigger trouble as a country, than if we consider bringing in electric vehicles.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

We have to decarbonise Eskom. We have to bring in electric vehicles into the country. We have to investigate the growth of the green hydrogen economy. As a company, we are fully committed to that, because we are committed to that globally, and we're committed to that in South Africa as well.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

What does 'sustainability' mean to a company like BMW?

The term 'sustainability' is often branded about by industries that are making a concerted effort to shift towards renewable energy.

Sustainability is described as being able to meet our current needs without compromising the needs of future generations.

Sustainability is anchored in the ethos of the company, which is what makes BMW a premium brand, says Govender.

He adds that one of the company's sustainability targets is to reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2040, and with a goal of being climate neutral by 2050.

We are firmly committed to the Paris climate agreement, making sure we use resources efficiently.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

We are committed to long-term job creation and the development of our staff in all areas of the world in which we operate in. We are committed to diversity in our staff and the importance that it brings in terms of making all of us have access to all aspects of human endeavour in our company.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

How challenging is it to reach those sustainability targets?

As the world shifts towards a more carbon-neutral environment, the reality for many countries, particularly developing nationals like South Africa is the slow transition to renewable energy.

South Africa's energy needs are still largely reliant on fossil fuels, despite the country being in a prime position to tap into the green energy space.

Politics and legislation remains a hinderance to the country's possibilities of tapping into the likes of solar power and wind energy, but Govender says those inhibitions need to be removed in order to move the country into the right direction.

These are difficult problems to solve, however, we have to solve them. It's easy to talk about the here & now, because you see it, you understand it. It's easy to talk about a potential future target, because it's in the future. The challenge for us in this generation of people in all parts of human endeavour, whether it's government. business, labour, we need to commit to solving this.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

Is the South African consumer ready for an electric vehicle?

Given South Africa's energy problems at present, the answer is probably no. However, BMW still plans to roll out its fleet of electric drivetrain vehicles, in alignment with its global ambitions to go all electric in the not too distant future.

BMW is currently producing its fifth generation of electric drive trains, with the iX, i4 and iX3 all available on the South African market.

At the same time, the German automaker is aware of South Africa's slow transition into the EV space, which is why it'll continue to offer it's full range of drivetrain alternatives like internal combustion engines, as well as hybrid vehicles.

We are not just starting something now. We've had full electric vehicles in our market since 2015 with our BMW i3. For the premium segment of the market in which we operate in, the customers that we have, in many cases are already off the grid. Already having solar PV charging solutions at home. Already having energy independents at home.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

It will be a slow start compared to China and Europe, but we will have to get there. This is an unstoppable wave. We are going to have to prepare from an energy stability perspective. All the social partners, citizens, Eskom, government, labour, business and industry. We have to fix this. The alternative is too dire to contemplate.

Deena Govender, BMW Group South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, Group Communications & Political Affairs

BMW has a long-standing and successful relationship with the South African market, having invested in the local economy more than fifty years ago with the establishment of the first manufacturing plant outside of Germany.

BMW is also a financial services provider, as well as a newly established IT development hub.

As the company continues to expand, Govender says this will contribute to job creation and leave a long-lasting legacy of sustainability and sheer driving pleasure in South Africa and the African continent.

Catch The Front Seat to Tomorrow every Wednesday from 10:30am on 702’s Clement Manyathela Show and follow the conversation on our socials using #BornElectric.




26 November 2021 1:49 PM
Tags:
BMW
Green energy
Sustainability
electric vehicles
hybrid vehicles
BMW iX
BMW Group South Africa
Deena Govender,
Born Electric
The future is electric, but is South Africa ready for electric cars?

More from The Front Seat to Tomorrow