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Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

There are ongoing discussions and debates on a global scale around strategies and opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint, noise, and air pollution as well as our dependency on fuel. Scientists, environmentalists, and industry experts are promoting the electrification of road transport as a viable alternative to the fossil fuel-based vehicles in use.

One of the popular vehicles under consideration is the electric two-wheeler (E2W). This is a plug-in vehicle whereby the electricity is stored onboard in a rechargeable battery that drives one or more electric motors. There are many pros and cons to owning and operating an electric two-wheeler where factors such as cost of purchase, maintenance, environmental concerns and impact, range as well as recharging time are some of the key considerations taken into account.

According to Global Newswire, the market is growing at a CAGR of 32.5% during the forecast period 20121-2030. Borderless Access recently conducted a comprehensive online global survey, with a specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa, to learn more about opinions, preferences, interests and needs concerning electric two-wheelers in order to see what is driving this growth.

Ownership

When it comes to owning an electric two-wheeler, the majority of consumers across sub-Saharan Africa stated that they were considering or planning to buy such a vehicle.

Improvement opportunities to drive EV purchase

New and established brands are constantly working on new technology to drive interest and excitement in this market to attract consumers and gain a larger market share. It is insightful to understand the factors that should be improved in order to increase the propensity to purchase. It was interesting to see that the top three factors were

  1. Availability of different types of electric two-wheelers
  2. Initial cost of purchase
  3. Have a good public charging infrastructure.

South African and Nigerian respondents reflected the global trend with these insights.

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Reasons for purchase

The top three reasons for the planned purchase of an E2W globally are

  1. Environment consciousness
  2. Less maintenance required
  3. Future of transportation.

In South Africa specifically, the top reason was the less maintenance requirement whilst in Nigeria, it was the fact the E2W’s are more economical to run than ICE vehicles.

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Electric vs ICE two-wheelers

When respondents were asked whether they would use their E2W differently compared to an ICE two-wheeler (internal combustion engine two-wheelers i.e. petrol-powered two-wheelers) the results were extremely interesting. Global responses showed that E2W would mostly be used for shorter commutes due to the drive range constraints, the consumers and intenders of E2W in SA and Nigeria stated they would be using them in the same way as ICE two-wheelers.

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Likeability factors about electric two-wheelers

When consumers were asked what they appreciated about the electric two-wheelers, their response was: lower maintenance, as well as additional smart features (such as app integration/maps, smart locks, geo-fencing) that came out on top globally. This was also the case in SA. In Nigeria, likeability was the faster acceleration of the vehicle

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Reasons for considering an electric two-wheeler

SA respondents reported that their main consideration reason was based on their own decision due to rising fuel prices. In Nigeria, consumers were largely influenced by social media and digital ads. These are valuable insights when it comes to communication and identifying appropriate strategies and media channels to influence prospective buyers for EV marketers.

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Brand choice

Inline with the global thought process, the top reasons for considering a particular brand electric two-wheeler are, Technology, Price and Performance. Though in Nigeria, the 18–35-years age group considered price over other attributes when it came to choosing a brand.

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Time to become mainstream

Respondents were asked how long they thought it would take for electric two-wheelers to become mainstream. Results across SSA showed this to be the case within this decade/over the next two decades.

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

The future scenario

Respondents were posed the question whether they believed that electric two-wheelers were 'the future'. Global results showed an overwhelming 72% saying that they will permanently replace ICE two-wheelers versus in SA and Nigeria where consumers feel E2W will co-exist with ICE two-wheelers unless there are marked improvements in the product and the infrastructure

Exploring the uptake of electric two-wheelers as a growing means of road transportation in sub-Saharan Africa

Conclusion:

There is definitely a role to play for E2Ws in our future, from an economic, environmental, and social perspective. E2Ws have fantastic features, are easy to operate, require little maintenance, and their use would mean not having to go to petrol stations! It will be essential for countries to improve on their government subsidies as well as charging infrastructure to encourage electric two-wheeler adoption. Manufacturers will need to be innovative and offer enhanced battery technologies and design specifications. As the demand grows for more efficient means of commuting, ownership and utilisation of electric two-wheelers will grow in demand and popularity.

Borderless Access can help you to gain access to relevant consumer insights to keep your brand ahead of the market. For more information, contact Bev Tigar-Bassett - AVP, business development, South Africa I Borderless Access, +27 79 572 6233 or contact us here.


Borderless Access
Borderless Access is an award-winning market research company with its digital-first products and solutions for agile research. We fulfil the dynamic and multi-dimensional research demands of our global clientele with our technology-enabled insights solutions and first-party hyper-niche communities.

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