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It has been reported that charging an electric vehicle (EV) costs a third per kilometre than buying petrol for the same car. In the same breathe, because EVs are made up of fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine, it is a lot less costly to service them. With many benefits in mind, South Africans should consider investing in EVs, or other forms of smarter mobility, in order to save money whilst minimising carbon emissions now and for the future.

In light of Savings Month taking place in July, Ben Pullen, CEO of Generation.e says that investing in smarter mobility on a personal and public level will save billions of rands which can be redirected to sustainable investments. “For example, according to GreenCape, if only 1-million EVs are sold in South Africa – which on current levels of economic activity is around two to three years’ new vehicle sales – the cost of oil imports will be reduced by roughly R8bn.

“On a national scale, if these billions saved from oil imports are directed towards investments in renewable energy and smarter, and most-likely electrified, public transport models, the job creation potential and economic boost possible becomes a highly attractive proposition. Subsequently those that buy EVs will be saving costs on fuel and the upkeep of their cars as previously mentioned.”

Bringing the savings mentality into the equation is where the excitement lies, says Pullen. “What we need to work towards as a society, is understanding that as technology improves, and electric vehicle solutions become cheaper and more attractive, he says. “Therefore the wide scale investment over the long term is exponential.”

Looking to the future, this means that scooters, preferably electric, and vehicles that are hybrid or electric make up the roads, he says. “However, the ultimate goal would be a move towards shared and smarter mobility, which will happen with a shift from asset ownership to mobility as a service.”

One global trend which may be heading to South Africa in the near future is car sharing solutions. “This is a great way to reduce car ownership, but to give people a car when they need it,” adds Pullen.

Today, however, the shift is already starting to happen, with South African taxi service companies offering green options, he says. “For example, Mellowcabs offers fully electric minicabs designed to provide an efficient on-demand taxi service in urban areas for commuters needing micro transport within a three mile radius. Another example is Greencabs, an eco-innovation company that provides South Africa’s first cost-effective, aggressively green transport solution.”

South Africa is also enjoying the growth and expansion of public transport offerings such as the Gautrain, which has just announced that it will be acquiring between 18 and 35 coaches to meet demand during peak travel times on popular routes. “This is a great form of cost effective, smarter mobility that can service a large amount of people whilst minimising congestion on the roads as well as greenhouse emissions.”

“With this in mind, it is now more important than ever for South African’s to start investing in smarter mobility solutions in order to not only remain competitive globally, but to look out for our own prosperity. As such, investment into research and development of smart mobility is non-negotiable. Every small saving we make today will no doubt add up to an exponentially better, and greener, future.”