SA has nothing to fear in the short term from its widening automotive technology gap with the northern hemisphere, says BMW global development head Klaus Fröhlich. Longer term, it’s another matter. While European, Asian and US motor companies are pushing ahead with futuristic plans for self-driving vehicles and alternative power sources, SA remains obstinately stuck in the present. By one estimate, electric vehicles (EVs) will account for 55% of vehicle sales worldwide by 2040. Last year, more than 2-million were sold — half of them in China. In Norway, which wants to eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025, EVs accounted for 49% of new vehicles. In SA, the share was less than 0.1%. The government says it wants to embrace the electric revolution but its actions suggest otherwise. In countries where EV sales thrive, they are driven by tax and trade-in incentives. In SA, EVs face import duties higher than those on cars driven by the traditional internal combustion engine. It’s ch...

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