New Zealand aims to phase out sales of internal combustion engine vehicles in favour of electric vehicles by 2030. Some 58% of cars on Norwegian roads are already electric or hybrid. Many other countries are speeding in the same direction.

Meanwhile, here in SA we applaud Nissan’s pre-election plans to spend R4bn to expand its Pretoria factory to produce yet more internal combustion engine vehicles, for which there will be no export market before too long.

Of course, for electric vehicles to make sense from a combined economic, environmental and health point of view, low-cost, renewable energy is essential for charging the batteries. And if all our vehicles were electric, we would no longer need to spend billions on crude oil imports every year, to say nothing of investing in Sudanese oil fields.

PODCAST: Business Day Spotlight – “Eskom is South Africa’s Brexit”

Back in 1890, before internal combustion engine cars widely existed, my great grandfather gave up mending ox wagons as a career as he glimpsed the future. Why can’t our political, business and union leaders give up their ox wagons, their Eskom-focused mentality, and catapult us into the future the rest of the world already enjoys?

I am sure Pretoria’s Boys High alumnus Elon Musk would love to lend a hand. It was just a couple of years back that he lit a rocket under Australia’s energy policy fossils by installing a giant battery in 90 days; now South Australia could be 100% renewable within 10 years. So, why is he not on the Eskom restructuring team?

Instead we get urged to vote for Peter Bruce’s corrupt, incompetent, short-sighted friends who will keep us in the dark ages, coughing up expensive soot and PM2.5 particles, for ever and a night.

Brian Paxton