Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC), one of the world’s top five electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, has appointed a South African dealer and distributor to market and sell its commercial EVs. The newly formed green mobility business, to be called MAXUS Electric Vehicles, is among the country’s first distributors to focus exclusively on the EV market.

MAXUS Electric Vehicles will offer urban logistics fleets access to EVs that help them to reduce total cost of ownership and make significant progress towards their net-zero goals. Early customers in South Africa such as Woolworths and DSV, working with MAXUS’ leasing partner Everlectric, have already zoomed past 1 000,000km while saving over 220,000kg of harmful carbon emissions.

Proof of concepts with MAXUS vehicles show that each EV on the road saves more than a tonne of carbon emissions each month. Operating costs are attractive compared to ICE vehicles, at around 40 c/km to run a MAXUS EV compared to around R2/km for a combustion engine. The low maintenance nature of EVs helps to improve asset utilisation, delivering further efficiencies.

“With environmental and sustainability concerns rising up the corporate agenda and the growing operational efficiencies of EVs, there is a compelling business case for decarbonising urban logistics fleets,“ said Ndia Magadagela, CEO at MAXUS Electric Vehicles. “We are excited to partner with a leading EV manufacturer to offer South African companies access to commercial EVs that enable them to simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions and harvest cost savings.”

MAXUS will initially focus on the Gauteng market, with the opening of one of South Africa’s first all-electric vehicle dealerships, showrooms and service centres in Menlyn, Pretoria. Launches will follow in Cape Town, Durban and other metropolitan areas. Financing is available from major commercial banks.

MAXUS Electric Vehicles will initially offer three commercial EV models to the South African market:

The MAXUS eDeliver 3 Panel Van features a comfortable cab, a range of up to 244-344 km and a payload of up to 945 kg. This vehicle has been extensively tested and validated in South Africa over the past 24 months with MAXUS’ leasing partner, Everlectric.

The MAXUS eDeliver 3 Chassis Cab is a two-seat, single chassis variant that allows customers to load a range of commercial bodies onto the long wheel base chassis. These include drop side load bins, space saver cargo canopies, refrigeration and temperature controlled bodies. It can be ordered for delivery later this year.

The MAXUS T90EV, which can be ordered for delivery in late 2023, will be the first electric double cab bakkie to be available in South Africa. With 354 km of range, the vehicle provides an alternative to urban 4X2 commercial combustion double cabs in industries like mining, private security, aviation, and farming.

MAXUS vehicles have sufficient range for commercial operations and can be charged overnight, with solar panels or when there’s no load shedding. They can be charged on most existing DC Fast Charger networks in South Africa. The local dealership and its partners have also created a grid-tied charging infrastructure with solar micro-grids to support customers.

“It is testimony to the efficiency of commercial EVs that they outshine traditional internal combustion engine fleets in terms of operational costs—despite the ad valorem taxes added to EV imports in South Africa,” said Magadagela. “Lower duties could help to encourage faster adoption of commercial EVs and shape a cleaner energy future.

“We urge government, commercial fleets, financing companies, and other stakeholders to join hands to accelerate adoption of EVs in South Africa. Fast-tracking the migration to EVs will not only help us to pave the way for a more sustainable future and meet Net Zero goals – it will also ensure our global competitiveness as the world decarbonises vehicle fleets.”

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