Electric mobility in Africa is still in its development stage. Although the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) on the continent have increased in recent years, they have remained the lowest worldwide. For instance, South Africa is the continent’s largest e-mobility market, yet electric vehicles account for 0.05% of the total 12 million automobiles in the country at 1,000 EVs as of 2022. While these electric vehicles offer cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternatives, their path to widespread adoption is faced with controversy and challenges.
The chart shows that the projected stock of electric vehicles (EVs) in sub-Saharan Africa by 2040 is expected to be 13.5 million in the base case and 25 million in the accelerated case. The base case assumes that current trends continue, while the accelerated case assumes that there are significant policy interventions to accelerate the transition to EVs.
As the majority of EVs in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to be two-wheelers, this also makes electric motorcycles hold significant potential in Africa, given the continent’s vast fleet of two-wheeled vehicles due to their affordability, durability, and maneuverability as attractive options for African riders. Now, the ambitious goals of African EV startups are met with doubts due to several factors such as high EV prices, unfriendly government policies, lack of charging infrastructure, high customs duties, and poorly maintained roads create substantial roadblocks for the industry.
A major hurdle for EV adoption in Africa is the reliability and affordability of electricity supply. Inconsistent electricity availability and sky-high prices are clogging the wheels of EV adoption in Africa. African governments need to elevate their game and invest in improving the grid infrastructure to power up the EV revolution. However, such infrastructure development requires substantial investment. According to estimates, an annual funding of $100 million is needed from international governments and aid organizations to scale EV adoption in Africa to 10% of total vehicle sales by 2027.
Africa’s electric vehicle revolution promises a jolly ride towards sustainable transportation. But there’s controversy already in the air. From carbon footprints to charging challenges and the need for international funding, the road ahead may be a bit bumpy. African governments, alongside international support, need to step on the accelerator, address policy barriers, and spark innovation to make this EV adventure a success to set Africa ready for an electrifying future on its roads.