Electric cars aren’t really considered fringe tech anymore. Not just because Twitter overlord Musk owns one of the most successful EV manufacturers (in the US), but because wall-fed cars have become more prominent in developed countries in recent years.
In South Africa… well… we have some very obvious infrastructure and legislative issues keeping electric cars out of the hands of environmentally-aware South Africans. Even though the list of available EVs in the country is slowly growing, these cars are not really ‘accessible’ yet.
That’s likely because the import tax on these vehicles is currently still sitting at 25% – that’s a whopping markup even before dealerships add their cut. This means that EVs are currently all priced like luxury vehicles, making them some of the most expensive options around.
The cheapest (brand-name) EV in South Africa is the humble Mini Cooper SE, which we reviewed a few years ago. It’s priced at R742,000 and has a range of just 217km. You won’t find too many options below one bar, unfortunately. Lately, BMW has decided to drop its Stuff-favourite i3 from its lineup, though you might find some on the secondhand market.
On the higher end, pricing for electric cars rises to R3,3 million for the supremely badass Audi RS e-tron GT. If you’re after a more sustainable ride, it really just depends on how deep your pockets are.
Below we’ve listed all the electric cars available in the South African market, including engine specs, range, and pricing.
MINI Cooper SE
Your most affordable option at this point, the Mini Cooper SE is a nippy little city-runner with ample power. Its unique styling and trims are unique to the Mini brand, which is why we loved taking this one out for a spin. The only drawback? You won’t be driving to Durbs with it.
Starting Price: R750,000
Maximum range: 217km
Volvo XC40 Recharge
One of the newer electric cars to enter SA’s market, the Volvo XC40 Recharge offers a fair bit more range than the Mini at a slightly higher price for the entry P6. You also get Volvo’s luxury trims and ample power included in the price, which makes this the perfect option for a Volvo fan and their family.
Starting Price: R1,075,000
Maximum range: 423 km
Mercedes-Benz has, like most car manufacturers, vowed to go completely green by some point in the future, which means it’s quickly rolling out a range of electric cars – even in SA. The most affordable of these is the EQA, which starts at just over R1 million. Here you’ll get a similar range to the Volvo, but also the added chip on your shoulder that comes with owning a Mercedes-Benz.
Starting Price: R1,169,500
Maximum range: 429km
BMW iX3 M Sport
We were sad to see the BMW i3 go, but at least the brand keeps us on our toes with new EVs. The iX3 M Sport is quite the looker, and with that comes ample space to pack up the kids. You’ll need to make a few pit stops to charge along the N1 to Cape Town, but it’s not impossible with its 460km range.
Starting Price: R1,306,400
Maximum range: 460km
Another option from the Mercedes stables, this one almost directly rivals the iX3 when it comes to space and pricing. Here you won’t get the range found on the BMW, but again – you’ve got bragging rights because it’s a Merc.
Starting Price: R1,379,000
Maximum range: 423km
It’s interesting that Mercedes-Benz EVs just entered the market in 2022, and you already have so many to choose from. The EQC offers a more premium feel over its smaller siblings, and you’re not compromising on space either.
Starting Price: R1,575,000
Maximum range: 437km
BMW i4 M50
Okay, this is still not a BMW i3, and it costs almost triple what the i3 did, but you can’t go wrong with any BMW EV. The brand’s range of i4 sedans is no different. Just look at the range and power allocation on this one. Petrol cars will quake in their low-profile boots at the intersection.
Starting Price: R1,637,900
Maximum range: 465km
One of Stuff’s favourites. Again. The BMW iX brings a bit more flare to the EV market with very interesting finishings like Swarovski seat adjusters and a central dial. Don’t believe us? Our own Toby Shapshak said, in his own words, “ It is hands down the best car I have ever driven.”
Starting Price: R1,735,000
Maximum range: 425km
Audi e-tron 55 Quattro
If you thought Swarovski fittings were cool, the Audi e-tron 55 Quattro uses interior displays paired with side-view cameras instead of side mirrors. It’s also one of the most powerful EVs you’ll get in this price range, so put your foot down at your own risk…
Starting Price: R1,990,000
Maximum range: 440km
This speedster comfortably fits into the luxury segment based on badge alone. If you’re a name-brand sort of person, this may be the EV for you even before you take a look at the spec. It’s also luxurious, sporty, and spacious, and features a decent range for an EV this size. The R2 million price tag stings a little, though.
Starting Price: R2,179,000
Maximum range: 431km
Yet another long-time Stuff favourite, the Jaguar I-Pace is the most fun you can have on four wheels. You’re probably emptying out a few credit cards to buy one but the features and styling on the I-Pace make it well worth the money. The range here is also decent, for what it’s worth. Still, plan long trips with charging stations in mind.
Starting Price: R2,249,000
Maximum range: 470 km
The most expensive of Merc’s electric cars available in South Africa, the EQS features a whopping 782km of range, also making it one of the longest-range EVs on the market. It’s also quite the looker, but you’ll pay for it dearly. But consider the premium features available here – it’s a proper contender in the upper price bracket.
Starting Price: R2,620,500
Maximum range:782 km
Audi e-tron GT
If you’re a Porsche fan, you might want to pay extra-special attention. Audi uses the Porsche Taycan’s J1 platform for this car. In addition, the Audi e-tron GT serves up a whopping 488km range and you’ll easily go from 0 to 100km in just 3.1 seconds. What else do you need? Oh, right, insurance.
Starting Price: R2,715,000
Maximum range: 488km
You can’t mention the word luxury without thinking about the BMW i7 It’s one of the most luxurious options available to EV-seeking South Africans right now. Also note that range – you’ll comfortably make it to Durban from Johannesburg in style. If you’re in the back seat, you’ll do it while watching widescreen streaming video most of the way.
Starting Price: R2,825,000
Maximum range: 625km
Audi RS e-tron GT
This one was first seen in Avengers: Endgame, and if that’s not reason enough to own one, we don’t know what is. The Audi RS e-tron GT is extremely powerful, features a range just shy of 500 kilometres and it’ll look like you’re Tony Stark. Need we say more? Okay, fine, you’ll also need Tony’s bank account to afford the R3.36 million price tag.
Starting price: R3,359,400