Managing Director of BMW South Africa, Mr Tim Abbott, recently shared is thoughts on the future of mobility for South Africa. The automotive sector as a whole as well as the government will have major role to play in shifting the paradigm.


In his insightful article on Business Day, Mr Tim Abbott touched on the necessity to find a responsible and balanced alternative to the traditional internal combustion engine. He explained that the uptake of electric cars requires buy-in from governments as well as the rest of the automotive sector, to support an entirely new approach to mobility.

Keep evolving

While we’ve come a long way since the invention of the wheel, we cannot simply sit back and stop improving and progressing in the automotive sector. Our paradigm needs to shift away from the short-term incremental improvement of carbon-based technology towards a road map that promotes and entrenches the transition to electric engines.

The way forward

To create a readiness for electric vehicles in South Africa, we need to collaborate with other manufacturers in the industry, as well as government, to create an environment that supports full electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

This includes educating motorists on the viability of electric vehicles. With the current uptake of “pure electric” being about 3%-5%, we are planning to grow this figure significantly by with ambitious plans to grow this significantly by 2020. There can be no doubt that electrification is the future of the automobile.

Getting government involved

The automotive sector requires the support of government to bring about the change.
A policy framework that facilitates the adoption of electric vehicles by both consumers and stakeholders is essential.

In the short term, it’s about looking at taxation differentials on electric vehicles, but over time it requires a wholesale shift in policy. This is when we will see a real improvement in sustainability, emissions and the environment across the automotive sector.

The bigger picture

BMW’s efforts at electrification are part of a broad-based sustainability strategy throughout every aspect of our organisation. The partnership with Bio2Watt is already yielding around 30% of the electricity required to power Plant Rosslyn, with plans to increase that figure to 100 % in coming years. There has also been a considerable investment in the BMW i brand, to ensure that we are not only able to cater to the shift in demand, but also to lead the way in future mobility.

Would you consider going electric? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments below: