Electrical Power & Protection

Partnering with the automotive industry

November 2023 Electrical Power & Protection

The emergence and growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is generating exciting opportunities for the Eastern Cape province, which already has a well-established presence in the local vehicle manufacturing sector, and also for technology companies looking to partner with the automotive industry.

Sy Gourrah.

The region has the potential to expand its manufacturing capabilities to include EVs, which could pave the way for the industry’s transformation in line with smart technology advancements. This could bring various benefits to the province, such as increased employment opportunities and new technologies, and could also encourage the establishment of private-public partnerships. In addition, it could advance smart technologies and solutions that would facilitate infrastructure development with drastically reduced emissions, creating a sustainable transportation sector.

The Eastern Cape is currently the largest exporter of vehicles in the country, and due to the demand for EVs in Europe, the province is well positioned to manufacture them on its existing production lines. The Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) Eastern Cape is already aligned with the establishment of local EV-building capabilities and the development of the required skills.

Factors driving adoption

Increasing climate change concerns and the mandatory reduction of carbon emissions in most European countries are driving the adoption of EVs. This will mitigate air pollution and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. However, the global automotive landscape is currently shifting not only to EVs but also to digitalisation and smart technologies, which are playing a pivotal role in the digital transformation of South Africa’s manufacturing space.

As a result, the Eastern Cape needs to keep pace with emerging trends in the automotive sector, especially as the advancement in battery technology has increased the viability and performance of EVs, making them more appealing to customers. It is therefore important for South Africa’s automotive industry hub to keep up with automakers that are currently transitioning to electric mobility and moving away from internal combustion engines.

EV manufacturing is aligned with the advancement of several other smart technologies such as battery management, performance optimisation, efficiency and safety systems. EVs generate a large amount of data from sensors, control units, and communication modules that need to be analysed. Additionally, smart grids and charging infrastructure, along with remote vehicle monitoring systems, would have to be integrated for the large-scale rollout of EVs.

Partnership opportunities

This is likely to create opportunities for companies to partner with the province and automotive industry players for the supply of charging stations and related infrastructure across the country. Similarly, manufacturers and assemblers of batteries that can provide battery storage in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner are likely to get the opportunity to partner with players in the automotive industry.

The transition to EVs is one of the biggest disruptors of the modern automotive industry, and a driver of innovative solutions for electric mobility. One of the ways to accelerate this transition is through the expansion of the charging infrastructure network within the country, but implementation will require the appointment of the appropriate technological partners.

Local technology companies wanting to partner with the automotive industry must be innovative with their products in order to meet the needs of the changing manufacturing environment. The shift towards EVs not only provides local businesses with the perfect opportunity to partner with EV makers for the provision of services and products, but also enables them to play their part in ensuring the sustainability of the environment.

For more information contact Mamiki Matlawa, ACTOM, +27 10 136 0200 mamiki.matlawa@actom.co.za, www.actom.co.za

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