Interviews

HEROSmaterMobility

10 Aug 2019

Frans Nortje, CSIR

Frans Nortje, CSIR
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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?

In my opinion, if not enforced by some sort of legislation, there will not be a sudden “boom”. I see it as a slow growing process. Trendsetters will be interested but it will not replace current trend within the next couple of years.

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

Infrastructure, financial burden, no awareness campaign, lack of knowledge and the lack of political will and the cost

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

Know your market, it is a hot topic, its new but users are uncertain of the possibilities. China might take the market with cheaper scooters and motorcycle’s.

What are the key opportunities and challenges?

Opportunities. Untapped markets, new capital and infrastructure investment, affordable industry/assembly and research opportunities. EV trucks and overland carriage. Training and awareness campaigns. Functional ports for imports/exports Challenges. Infrastructure, the lack of commitment and political will. Knowledge, investment and trust

How do you foresee smarter mobility in the future?

It will be a slow growing market and needs a definite effort from role players (industry and government) to create the awareness for the need for smarter mobility.

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

From an Export/Import point of view: Make sure you know the legislation pertaining to your commodity. Understand the role players, duties taxes and costs. Cover the basics before you start. It can be an expensive exercise.

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

We need the political will and together with it we need Government to provide a warm and inviting platform for investors and traders to create business as they are supposed to.

Forecasts and predictions for the year ahead?

I believe we are in for a bumpy ride, we need to get the basic right (Eskom and infrastructure)

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

Determine how big your possible market will be (horses for courses)

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

Get the basics right, if you need to import, know the competitor, know the product know the legislation governing your commodity

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

Cost of product, after sales service and infrastructure.

Why? It is expensive and while expensive, you will have a limited market share,

After sales service –cost of maintenance, parts (batteries), services and availability of qualified mechanics.

Infrastructure,-availability of filling stations, service centres, constant electrical supply

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

Innovations in land, ev cargo trucks with charging systems, motorcycle manufacturers, Harley-Davidson are leaders in the industry.(( I will miss the pulsating big V twin vibrating between my legs, while cruising the back roads!!!)) Ships and aircraft even in warehouses, unmanned battery operated sorting and lifting gear (forklifts)

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