A BMW EV parked in underground parking.

The 5 Cheapest EV Cars in South Africa

Just a few years ago, you’d struggle to find an affordable electric vehicle (EV car) in South Africa. Today, more manufacturers are entering the market, giving us a wider selection than ever before. 

But what do we mean by “affordable”, especially because manufacturers price their EV cars much higher than their petrol or diesel-fuelled counterparts? We did some research and uncovered the five cheapest EV cars in South Africa so you don’t have to. Read on to learn more about them.

Fifth Place: Maxus T90EV Double Cab

The front of the Maxus T90EV.

The front end of the Maxus T90EV

Price: From R1,100,000

Considering the soaring prices associated with double cab bakkies these days, you’d be surprised to learn that the Maxus T90EV is on this list. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation builds the 4×2 Maxus bakkie in China and Thailand and it’s South Africa’s very first EV double cab.

It has a maximum range of 400 km and can charge from 5% to 80% in just 45 minutes. Although top speed is capped at 120 km/h, the single electric motor produces 150 kW of power and 310 Nm of torque, giving it more than enough juice to tackle off-road terrain. It also boasts a 1,000 kg maximum payload and a 1,000 kg braked towing capacity.

Fourth Place: MINI Cooper SE

A white MINI Cooper SE charging.

The MINI Cooper SE

Price: From R783,500

Yes, you can drive a brand-new electric MINI Cooper SE for under a million rand. MINI first introduced the EV car to the South African market in 2020, so you might have already seen some on the road. The company promises the same “go-kart feeling” combined with emissions-free driving.

The 32.6 kWh battery pack gives it a 215 km range, while the electric motor produces 135 kW of power, rocketing the car from 0 – 100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds. If you use an 11 kW power source, you can charge it from 0% to 80% in just two hours and 30 minutes.

Being a BMW product, you can also equip it with a wide range of optional accessories like the Connected Navigation Plus package, which includes a head-up display, concierge services, and wireless phone charging.

Third Place: Volvo EX30

A Volvo EX30 parked in a concrete area.

The Volvo EX30 EV

Price: From R775,900

The Volvo EX30 is an incredible EV car. So good, in fact, that it’s the 2024 World Urban Car of the Year. Despite being Volvo’s smallest-ever SUV, the EX30 is crammed with excellent standard features like collision avoidance systems, automatic parking, and a 360° camera.

Its best feature, however, is its performance. The top-line Twin Motor Performance model is ridiculously fast, with 315 kW of power getting it from 0-100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds. That’s supercar territory – in an urban SUV.

It doesn’t compromise on range, either, with the Single Motor Extended Range model capable of going 476 km on a single charge.

Second Place: BYD Atto 3

The BYD Atto 3 parked at sunset.

The BYD Atto 3 at sunset

Price: From R768,000

Chinese manufacturers are leading the way in terms of affordable EV cars. The BYD Atto 3 is an excellent example, blending reliable performance with the practicality of a crossover SUV. BYD’s e-Platform 3.0 features an ultra-safe blade battery, a high-efficiency heat pump system, and the world’s first mass-produced eight-in-one electric powertrain.

This translates to healthy performance, with 150 kW of power and 310 Nm of torque. The Extended model has a maximum range of 420 km and you can charge it from 30% to 80% in just 29 minutes. 

It’s not just practical, either. BYD has also equipped the Atto 3 with a high-tech digital cockpit and an advanced driving assistance system.

The Cheapest EV Car in South Africa: GWM ORA 03

A GWM ORA 03 parked in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town.

A white GWM ORA 03 parked in Cape Town

Price: From R686,950

By now, South Africans should be quite familiar with Great Wall Motors (GWM), thanks to the success of its P-Series bakkie and Haval SUVs. ORA is its latest brand, focussing exclusively on EV cars.

The ORA 03 comes in at just under R700,000, making it by far the most affordable EV car in South Africa. It looks the part, too, with a distinctive design and plenty of flashy LED lighting. The entry-level model boasts a 310 km range, while the three premium models can go 420 km on a single charge. All models produce 126 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque and can charge from 0% to 80% in under an hour.

The feature list is lengthy, to say the least, so you definitely get value for money. GWM also promises that ORA will provide the best range-per-rand figure of any EV car in South Africa.

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