AutoTrader has published its latest Annual Car Industry Report, revealing the most searched-for, most-viewed, and most-listed electric vehicles (EVs) on its South African website in 2022.

The motoring classifieds platform measured 159% more EV advert views among its users, predominantly driven by new models entering the market and piquing consumer interest.

Audi’s RS E-tron GT generated the highest number of views — 180,883.

This high-performance model is at the top of the company’s E-tron line-up, boasting 440kW of power and acceleration from 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds.

It was followed by the base Audi E-tron with 145,684 views. Both E-tron models debuted in South Africa in early 2022.

The BMW i3, available locally since 2015, was the third most-viewed EV, at just over 116,003 views.

Rounding off the top 5 was the fourth-placed Porsche Taycan with 115,682 views and BMW iX with 51,610. These two cars landed in South Africa in 2021.

One standout entry on the top 10 most-viewed list was the Tesla Model Y, for which only a single model was listed during the year.

Tesla does not sell any of its cars in South Africa, but another imported Model 3 was previously listed online in South Africa.

Rubicon Energy, Tesla’s official distributor of Powerwall, Megpack, and Wall Connector products in South Africa, also imported a Model X in 2021.

That was done with three goals in mind:

- Marketing the Tesla brand to help sell its products.

- Creating awareness around e-mobility among the public by using Tesla’s recognizability as an electric vehicle brand.

- To lobby government and politicians by showing them the technology that is coming and making them aware of the need to prepare for it.

The most searched-for or enquired-on EV of the year was the BMW i3, followed by the Audi RS e-tron GT, and Audi e-tron.

The cheapest EV available in South Africa — the Mini Cooper SE — was only the 8th most popular, suggesting that price was not the most important factor for potential buyers.

The Tesla Model Y ranked as the 4th most-searched EV.

The fact that it outperformed cars like the Porsche Taycan, BMW iX, and BMW iX3, is a testament to the local popularity of the Elon Musk-owned brand.

AutoTrader’s 2022 Electric Car Buyers survey found that Tesla had greater brand recognition for EVs in South Africa than Mini, which actually sells cars locally.

It also ranked higher than Lexus, which sells hybrid EVs in South Africa.

Regarding the seller side of the business, EVs were listed 425 times during the year.

The average mileage of listed EVs stood at 17,446km, while the average year model was 2021.

These numbers are indicative of the EV industry’s infancy in South Africa.

The average EV price of R1,853,743 was substantially higher than the R374,149 average for all vehicles.

That is no surprise, as EVs are generally still much more expensive than their diesel and petrol-powered equivalents.

But the price differences are particularly substantial in South Africa due to higher taxes on EV imports than on other cars.

AutoTrader said that the 2022 Electric Car Buyers survey showed that consumers’ ideal EV price was below R600,000.

“The only model which is within this band is the discontinued Nissan Leaf which was not even in the top 10 most-listed EVs,” AutoTrader said.

The most-listed EV was the standard Audi E-tron, with an average mileage of 6,686km between advertised models.

Despite only being in the market for a year, it surpassed the BMW i3, which has had a seven-year advantage.

The average mileage of this model on AutoTrader in 2022 was 49,715km.

The Porsche Taycan, BMW iX, and Audi RS E-Tron GT completed the top five.

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