Applicability of Electric Cars in South Africa: Pros and Cons

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An electric car is one that operates on an electric motor, instead of an internal-combustion engine that generates power by burning a mix of gases and fuels, therefore such a vehicle is seen as a possible replacement for current generation automobiles, in order to address the issue of increasing pollution, global warming and depletion of natural resources. Though the electric car concept has been around for a long time, it has drawn a considerable amount of interest in the past decade amid arising carbon footprint and other environmental impacts of fuel-based vehicles.

The environmental impacts of electric cars in South Africa were investigated. It was discovered that the bulk of South Africa's electricity is generated from relatively low-quality coal and advanced exhaust clean-up technologies are not implemented in the current coal-fired power plants, the use of electric cars in South Africa would not help to cut gas emissions now or in the future (in 2030 using the IRP 2010 Revision 2,policy-adjusted IRP scenario) and would lead to NOx and SOx emissions. Auto trader CEO George Minnie said South Africans 'still have a long to go' from adopting all forms of electric vehicles. The report says that about 10 million cars are on SA roads, and only about 1,000 are electric. This number is growing by only a handful each month globally, numbers are growing by up to 40% annually in 2019, 2.1 million were sold, accounting for 2.6 of all car sales.

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In nearly all markets in which demand is growing, governments offer purchasing incentives, including duty rebates. South Africa does the contrast by penalizing buyers of electric cars. The Auto Trade survey. of 3,105 consumers was conducted in conjunction with mobility specialist Generation. e MD Ben Pullen, predicting the global mass adoption of electric cars is clearly in their favor. In South Africa, however, Mienie said misconceptions about electric cars still need to be corrected. First-generation models have been able to travel only 100km between battery recharges but new models can do 400km and more. Along the distance of N1, N2, N3, and N4 national highways, charging stations are no more than 200km apart and it becomes clear that range anxiety-the fear of running out of power in the middle of nowhere is no longer necessary. South Africa has one of the world's lowest ratios of charging points to electric cars at six cars per station. Globally the figure is 25 to one. Despite South Africa's slowness in adopting electric cars, it could not resist what is happening in the rest of the world, saying 'Electric Vehicles are coming whether we like it or not 'said Mienie

In South Africa, the high volume of electric car penetration and uncoordinated charging could cause a huge threat to the stability of the power system. It is due to overloading and limited resources that the reliability and stability of the local grid are persistently compromised by load-shedding. The grid is currently unable to sustain the load, meaning that additional burdens like electric cars on the national grid could be damaging. Load shedding is imposed on consumers so as to avoid imminent blackouts. The question of the country's readiness for electric cars' large-scale adaptation is posed by this intern. The question of mobility of such an adaptation and promulgating the country's stance and what is required to get us on par with the rest of the world is at hand.

Pros of electric cars

There are various advantages and benefits of electric cars in regard to the environment and some are their green credential of being 100% eco-friendly, being easy on the environment, and reducing noise pollution

Firstly the fact that electric cars can utilize almost all the kinds of energy resources that can be used to generate electricity, thereby reducing the dependence of transportation on the volatile petroleum market is a major advantage. Electric cars can take advantage of the development of renewable energy for electricity generation and there are absolutely no emissions at the end user which helps reduce pollution in urban areas.

Secondly, electric cars have the green credential of being 100% eco-friendly as they run on electricity-powered engines. These do not emit toxic gases or air smoke into the environment as they run on a clean energy source. These are easy on the environment.

Moving on to reduce noise pollution which is also one of the advantages of electric cars: if you live near a busy road or have simply driven in rush-hour traffic, you know how noisy conventional cars can be, even if it's just the hum of smaller engines. Electric cars, on the other hand, are practically silent, putting a carb on the noise pollution as they are much quieter. You can only imagine how relaxed the environment becomes and this is also good for our livestock because there won't be any devastating sounds or noises.

Cons of electric cars

Although electric cars are generally considered to be clean the full environmental implication of electric cars mainly depends on the cleanliness of the electric grid. (Nicolay et al,2000)pointed out that the discoveries of a life cycle assessment on electric cars strongly depend on the efficiency of the energy supply chains as most of the pollutants considered in the study (NOx, SOx, and carbon dioxide) are directly linked to combustion. A report released by the National Research Council in the USA in October 2009 reported that when damage and impacts of the whole life cycle were considered, the aggregate impacts depended on the grid; in that case, the impacts of all-electric cars are comparable to or somewhat higher than those from the USA, where coal and natural gas-fired power plants account of the majority of total generation. Well some of the detailed disadvantages of electric cars include, charging stations availability being Inconsistent, a minimal amount of emissions, and the Silence of electric cars

Starting with charging station availability inconsistency is the major concern of electric cars: Maybe you live in an area where electric cars are common, and so there is a wide availability of electric car charging stations for your convenience. Otherwise, say you are on a road trip in a more suburban or remote area-what happens if you need to charge up? Luckily, as the popularity of electric cars grows so too do the charging stations they require. Otherwise, for now, the unavailability is another major grievance for consumers, especially here in South Africa. Braun 2017

Following is the minimal amount of emission. Electric cars are not 100% emission-free, they cause a little amount of pollution indirectly. The batteries and electricity required for charging are not necessarily generated from renewable resources. Going silent on electric cars. As people like to hear noises if there are cars coming from behind them, silence can be a disadvantage because an electric car is however silent and this can lead to accidents in some cases, its easier for humans or livestock to immediately move away if they hear that there is a car approaching them or coming from behind but when it's silent it means that there won't be any indication that a car is behind them and could be hit by the car if maybe the driver is also not concentrating on the road, even livestock is at risk that way.

Well after learning about electric cars, how not ready South Africa is for electric cars, and that electric cars do not pollute the environment, that is they do not emit greenhouse gases, the environment is sustainable in that way and it's healthy for people to live in. We have also learned that these cannot be implemented in South Africa because of the huge threat they could pose to the power system, and South Africa having limited resources. It is clear the current state of affairs does not favor the implementation of electric cars in the country. It is necessary to provide a reliable and sustainable charging scheme and option for the consumers, for electric cars to dominate in this country. Many issues such as energy security, wide accountability of charging infrastructure, policy implementation, and full government support need to be addressed before the concept of electric cars could be fully embraced.

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Applicability of Electric Cars in South Africa: Pros and Cons. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
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