- Substantial development in battery and electric vehicle industry in SA
- Drive to improve local supply chain development
- South Africa and Africa can compete on the international stage
- Global networking opportunities for local stakeholders
The two-day uYilo Batteries and Electric Vehicles 2018 conference in Port Elizabeth, South Africa yielded a mountain of data and insights from the 20 speakers who hailed from Israel, United Kingdon, Germany, Norway, Austria and South Africa. A wealth of information regarding the growing battery and electric vehicle space in South Africa was shared. “The insights provided at the conference prove just how diverse the industry is,” says Hiten Parmar, director of the uYilo eMobility Technology Innovation Programme. “Delegates were exposed to a wealth of information, from real-world use-cases to safety and the challenges facing industry from energy generation to development of the local supply chain.” “The outcome of the uYilo Batteries and Electric Vehicles Conference is overwhelmingly positive. Both the battery and electric vehicle space in South Africa is developing and, while still in its infancy, enjoys growing support from private enterprise and greater attention from government.” With presenters covering the spectrum from government to private industry, both locally and abroad, battery technologies and varied electric vehicle applications, the uYilo Batteries and Electric Vehicles Conference highlighted what is happening locally. “One of the most important highlights from the conference in Port Elizabeth is that the stakeholders are not alone,” says Parmar. “Many people are working in this technology space which is quickly proving to be one of the most disruptive of the age.”
“There are many obstacles that need to be dealt with, many challenges to overcome, from energy generation to battery capacity, encouraging mass market adoption of e-mobility and developing support technologies and infrastructure – but unlike previous technological revolutions the change to battery power and electric vehicles is happening with a strong focus on environmental awareness and recycling.” A theme throughout the conference was the extended lifespan of electric vehicles, greater ability to control emissions of power generation at the source, creating balance of grid demand by using vehicle batteries during peak hours and better utilisation of local minerals, assets and skills in order for South Africa to be a global player in this industry. “The uYilo Batteries and Electric Vehicles Conference had around 40 delegates from Port Elizabeth,” says Parmar. “The balance of the 110 delegates attended from Germany, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the rest of South Africa. This high-level working conference provided an opportunity not only to showcase what we are doing locally but to learn from what is being done in the rest of the world to fast-track best-practise development of our own projects.” As part of the conference, networking opportunities were created for local industry to forge new bonds as well as make international connections that might otherwise not have been possible. The national uYilo eMobility Technology Innovation Programme (EMTIP) is an initiative of the Technology Innovation Agency, delivering across a mandate to enable, facilitate and mobilise the eco-system for the introduction of electric mobility into South Africa. The programme seeks to fast-track the uptake and roll-out of electric mobility technologies to support the global transition towards efficient and sustainable technologies within transport, as well as greater transitions to smart cities.