Interviews

HEROSmaterMobility

12 Aug 2019

Darryl Chapman, Eskom

Darryl Chapman, Eskom
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How do you think the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry in Africa will perform in the next 1 - 5 years?

I foresee a slow but steady gain in momentum over that period. With the current sales growth rates I can only see the tipping point (for exponential increase) being reached right at the end of that period.

What are the top burning electric vehicle and smarter mobility challenges faced in Africa right now?

The #1 challenge is the purchase price of electric vehicles in South Africa. Successful countries have used incentives to great effect whilst we disincentivise EVs by applying large import duties and taxes. The other challenges are similar to those in the rest of the world where adoption is starting, primarily range anxiety followed by other less significant challenges.

What are the key trends in Africa that drive the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry?

With imported oil, fuel prices are high. Most African countries have also agreed emission reduction targets and EVs play a big part in achieving those targets, particularly in the transport sector (which contributes significantly to current GHG emissions).

How do you foresee smarter mobility in the future?

We as Eskom are convinced that South Africa will see smarter mobility in the near future in its various guises (electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, smarter public transportation etc.). If we didn’t then we would not have started our own e-Mobility Programme with the aim of tapping into that market.

The top 3 themes you will share/have shared at the seminar/conference?

1. Electric vehicles are a big part of South Africa’s future in transport.

2. The need for cleaner, greener transportation in South Africa (including renewable energy solutions).

3. Eskom’s role in the e-Mobility space (providing the energy to drive electric transportation).

What are the burning issues that keep you awake at night?

The cost and available range of electric vehicles in South Africa. We can have the best strategies, policies and plans but it all falls short of the mark if we don’t have the vehicles on our roads.

Forecasts and predictions for the year ahead?

Hopefully a lot of new makes and models of electric vehicles available in South Africa. We would also like to see mass transport options (e.g. electric buses, trucks, LDVs) in S.A.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to a company in the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry?

Consider all the potential benefits (hint; there are many).

What advice would you give to a new people starting in the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry?

Be prepared but be patient (hurry up and wait). Know what you want to do and how you want to do it, but it will take some time for the technology change to be fully embraced in South Africa.

What do you see  as the most significant threat to the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry and why?

A lack of vision (locally) – there is some but restricted to specific individuals. Nationally I see a need to for coordinated planning to push the adoption of these technologies in S.A.

What current innovations are you aware of in the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry?

Battery technology continues to advance and become cheaper (this is a significant driver). Mass transportation of goods using electric/smarter mobility is also going to see further movement soon. From a utility perspective we are interested in the possibility of implementing V2G as a tool for managing load.

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