Interview With Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director Of Volvo Automobiles South Africa

Gross sales of battery-electric autos proceed to point out regular progress in South Africa. Battery-electric automobile gross sales breached the five hundred items per 12 months mark in South Africa for the primary time ever in 2022. Final 12 months, 502 battery-electric autos (BEVs) have been bought in South Africa, up from 218 in 2021. Gross sales within the first 4 months of this 12 months point out that BEV gross sales may double once more this 12 months. Within the first 4 months of 2022, 138 battery-electric autos have been bought in South Africa. Now, one 12 months later, gross sales of battery-electric autos have doubled over the identical interval. 284 battery-electric autos have been bought in South Africa from January to April of this 12 months, representing a 105.8% change, in accordance with stories launched by naamsa.

Within the total market, 175,678 items of home automobile gross sales have been recorded from January to April 2023, a rise of two,291 items or 1.3% in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months. The 284 battery-electric autos bought throughout that interval signifies that BEVs are nonetheless solely 0.16% of gross sales in South Africa, however the business seems to be promising.

One of many corporations that’s actually stepping up and bringing EVs to South Africa is Volvo. We caught up with Volvo Automobiles South Africa Managing Director, Greg Maruszewski (GM).

Here’s a abstract of the interview:

Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director, Volvo Automotive South Africa

RJK: What are your views on the South African automobile market typically?

GM: The market at the moment is pretty tender, roughly flat versus final 12 months. Understanding that final 12 months, there have been fairly a number of producers with provide points, which must some extent been resolved now, it does level to a market which has demand constraints. Nevertheless, I do assume it ought to decide up in the direction of the tip of the 12 months if there aren’t any additional unfavourable information on the horizon.

RJK: What are your views on the South African electrical mobility panorama?

GM: At present a really small portion of the entire automotive market is EV, however that’s rising shortly, albeit off a small base. It does want shopper training, to deal with the few key considerations, like charging infrastructure, load-shedding, and vary. I feel the premium automotive market will undertake the EV supply ahead of the remainder of the segments. Volvo will probably be totally electrical by 2030, and this doesn’t concern me in any respect from the South African perspective. The technological improvements over the following few years will handle most, if not all, the considerations of our clients, so there will probably be much less and fewer causes to not purchase an electrical automotive.

RJK: What number of fashions of battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, and conventional hybrids does Volvo supply in South Africa?

GM: Each single mannequin by-product in Volvo Automotive South Africa’s line-up options some kind of electrification, starting from gentle hybrid via to completely electrical. At present, the portfolio contains plug-in hybrid variations of the XC60 and XC90 (every carrying the T8 badge and out there throughout a number of trim ranges) in addition to BEVs within the type of the XC40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge Twin, the C40 Recharge Twin, and the brand-new EX30 vary (pre-orders of the latter are already open in South Africa, with 5 variants on supply). All remaining mannequin derivatives characteristic mild-hybrid petrol powertrains.

RJK: What has been the response to the introduction of Volvo EVs in South Africa thus far?

GM: I feel phenomenal is the proper phrase to make use of. We have been shocked by the curiosity and degree of orders that got here in. With a extra strong provide chain, we at the moment are beginning to meet demand and hopefully construct up some inventory for purchasers to have the ability to purchase the product off the ground with out ready for months to expertise our product.

RJK: We noticed some time again you provided some EVs through on-line gross sales and these have been bought out shortly — what are your plans to extend the allocation of BEVs for the South African market?

GM: The restricted slots for SA have been because of excessive world demand. We’ve got since elevated our manufacturing of EVs internationally so hopefully we is not going to have these shortages once more, and if we do it would solely be throughout the launch phases the place it’s extra acceptable.

RJK: Some OEMs have partnered with EV charging corporations to roll out charging networks throughout South Africa — do you’ve plans to do the identical?

GM: We don’t imagine that this kind of advertising is efficient. You don’t see petrol pumps being branded with numerous automotive manufacturers, why electrical stations? We’d somewhat make investments extra instantly in educating the general public about EVs in addition to talk the advantages of EV to most people.

RJK: In your view, what are among the challenges and issues holding again the adoption of electrical autos in South Africa, and Africa typically?

GM: A number of challenges, clearly pricing is one, however we expect that will probably be addressed within the subsequent few years the place BEV and ICE automotive value parity will probably be reached. We predict we did loads of strong work to that finish, with our EX30 pricing introduced lately. Charging infrastructure must increase, however I’ve little question that may occur as soon as the gross sales decide up. Load-shedding is perceived to be a stumbling block, however we don’t assume it’s a main subject, with out discounting the severity of the affect of load-shedding on the financial system, which is clearly damaging, and in any case the federal government is engaged on an answer, and solar energy will proceed to develop in its reputation as an alternate supply of electrical energy.

RJK:  Volvo Vehicles South Africa lately unveiled an all-electric heavy obligation truck — are there any shared visions and objectives with the heavy vans firm?

GM: The Volvo Group, which distributes vans amongst different merchandise, is a very separate firm with separate shareholders and administration crew. We solely share the Volvo identify because of historic joint possession which led to 1999. Due to this fact, we’d not have shared visions, however I feel we do share the aim of constructing motoring cleaner for the setting.

RJK: Any plans to convey sister manufacturers to SA like Polestar and Zeekr?

GM: No plans at the moment, however as quickly because the EV market in SA has grown to a degree the place a stand-alone electrical model can prosper, I’m certain we’ll see not solely these manufacturers, however a number of others enter the market.

Photos courtesy of Volvo Automobiles


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