WINDHOEK - The N$190 million Peugeot assembly plant being constructed in Walvis Bay, which is expected to be ready by the end of this year, is thus far slated to only produce fossil fuel vehicles (petrol and diesel) even as the French car maker plans on moving to fully electric vehicles from 2019 in the rest of the world.
This decision, said a Peugeot spokesperson, is based on local and regional market demand coupled with the availability, or lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The new vehicle assembly plant is scheduled to produce the Peugeot 3008 and Peugeot 5008 Opel Grandland X as well as the Peugeot 2008 and the Opel Crossland X.
“Yes, Peugeot already manufactures fully electric vehicles for mass consumption, namely the Peugeot Ion (in collaboration with Mitsubishi at the Mizushima plant in Japan) and the Peugeot Partner Electric (at the Vigo plant in Spain)” confirmed Sharon Garson, a spokesperson from Peugeot Citroen South Africa. In fact, the number of hybrid or fully electric vehicles Peugeot sold in 2017 totalled 3 239 while in 2018 the company sold almost 3000 fully electric or hybrid vehicles. However, when asked about the local manufacturing of electric vehicles, Garson said: “The future will depend on the market evolution.”
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Simeon Negumbo, said the ministry recognises and welcomes the introduction of electric vehicles into the Namibian market, as well as the associated environmental and financial benefits this may bring.
However, Negumbo noted that whilst the ministry develops the required legislation to regulate electronic vehicle infrastructure, the suppliers of electric vehicles are responsible to ensure that their vehicles can be charged at appropriate places in order to enable them to be fully utilised. This, he said, is the current practice in countries like South Africa where suppliers or private sector players install such infrastructure.
“Currently, the ministry has not received any proposals from the private sector for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Nevertheless, the ministry encourages the private sector to engage Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs), since the licensed distributors will need to provide electricity to the charging stations,” said Negumbo.
He added that the mines and energy ministry will continue to monitor the developments and further develop and implement legislation to regulate the electric vehicle charging industry.
When the deal for the assembly plant was announced earlier this year, it was revealed that Peugeot would invest N$50 million while the remaining N$140 million includes the valuation of the land and the physical infrastructure that is being provided by the Namibian government. Namibia will through the Development Corporation hold 51 percent equity, with Groupe PSA, the French vehicle manufacturer, holding the other 49 percent.