New Electric Vehicle Strategy to reduce carbon footprint

23 November 2022
Department of Transport and Public Works

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, through its Government Motor Transport (GMT) trading entity, is in the process of implementing the Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy. The team from GMT presented elements of the strategy at major conferences throughout the country this year.

GMT’s Chief Director Yasir Ahmed presented the Strategy to delegates at the South African Roads Federation (SARF) Conference and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) SA Auto Week Conference in October 2022, and the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Convention in the first week of November.

"We are all committed to reversing the dire effects of climate change, and to reduce our carbon footprint," said Ahmed.

"Everyone has a contribution to make.  The WCG [Western Cape Government] hopes that by publishing our strategy and showing our commitment to collaborate with all stakeholders, that government, industry and academia will create a conducive environment in which the creation of an EV ecosystem that will benefit all our citizens will be realised."

A major part of the EV Strategy is the establishment of an enabling electric vehicle ecosystem that comprises people, technology, and infrastructure and emphasises:

  • Renewable energy projects
  • A network of charging stations
  • Vehicle conversion projects
  • Collaboration with key stakeholders

The Department introduced 5 BMWi3 e-cars into its fleet in 2021 with the aim of reducing carbon emissions through the “Zero Emissions, Zero Limits” campaign.

So far,

  • The testing and placement of 5 BMWi3 EVs already purchased by GMT is complete
  • The development of a provincial electric vehicle charging network is under consideration
  • Collaboration with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has started.

“Our strategy looks beyond 5 years over the next 20 years as electric vehicles become more commonplace in South Africa,” said Ahmed.

At the start of Transport Month in October 2022, the Department unveiled the new GMT building in Maitland. The external courtyard has been re-designed so that there is space for EV charging points.

In December 2021, the Department set out on a trip in an electric car to the Eastern Cape to experience first-hand what client departments will experience when they use one of GMT's electric vehicles.

The trip was also an interprovincial benchmarking exercise focused on learning about what sustainable mobility looks like in the South African context through a visit to colleagues at the Eastern Cape's Government Fleet Management Services (GFMS). The team was able to practically experience just how different driving in the future will be in urban and rural environments.

On the road trip, the team met with OEMs like Volkswagen and Jaguar who presented their own EV strategies and spoke about their future plans for contributing to the global shift toward sustainable means of mobility.