The popularity of electric cars is on the rise. Since its reintroduction to the consumer consciousness in the 1990, electric vehicles (EV’s) have gained new ground. Electric cars offer an alternative to the diesel- and petrol-powered vehicles, which are the current norm, and which have damaging effects on the environment.

The industry has seen healthy growth over the last few years. Firms like Tesla, BMW and Nissan have been driving consumer awareness and sales, while the dropping price of EV batteries, government incentives, tighter emissions regulations and longer driving ranges have pushed the global popularity of electric vehicles. In South Africa, the market is somewhat complicated by the high import costs levied on EV’s and the lack of infrastructure. This may soon change, however, as leading industry bodies are campaigning for lower import levies and the country is getting more EV charging points.  GridCars, the largest installer of public charging stations in SA, is setting out to install hundreds of charging EV stations. The number of electric cars registered in South Africa has already doubled over the last year, and 867 electric vehicles were registered in the country by March 2019.  This growth is not to be ignored and opens up interesting questions about the future of electric vehicles.

Plastic is a vital manufacturing element for electric vehicles, as this material is commonly used instead of traditional metals in order to reduce the weight of the vehicle. Currently cars are made up of around 30,000 parts, of which 1/3 are made of plastic. The electric vehicle plastics market can be segmented as:

  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyurethane (PUR)
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Polyoxymethylene (POM)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Polyamide (PA)
  • Acrylic (PMMA)
  • Others (Polyethylene etc.)

Electric vehicles require very lightweight materials, which is currently driving growth in the electric vehicle plastics market. The EV segment is expected to grow, which will thereby also lead to increased demand for lightweight, plastic automobile parts.

Manufacturers in South Africa would be wise to monitor the global and local market and capitalise on the opportunities presented by this automotive sector. The global electric vehicle fleet was more than 5.1 million in 2018, up by more than 2 million units from the preceding year.

Plastic & Chemical Trading is a valuable technical partner that supports your manufacturing needs. Contact us today to ask how we can streamline and improve your business!