Small island nations that are net importers of fossil fuels for the transport sector are some of the perfect candidates for a fast transition to electric mobility. This is because everything is so close that range anxiety will not be a major concern given the good range one gets these days from modern EVs. Unlike in the early days first generation Nissan Leaf, most modern EVs have ranges well above 200 km per charge.
Mauritius, the island nation which is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is a good example. The country is about 60 km long and 45 km wide and has an area of about 2000 km2. Mauritius has a population of about 1.37 million. Modern EVs will be perfect for most if not all of the peoples’ daily commutes on the island.
The 10 Year Electric Vehicle Integration Roadmap for Mauritius commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities in 2020, states that there were 562,202 vehicles in Mauritius at the time. 312,000 of these were cars (registered cars, dual purpose vehicle double cab pickups and vans). The report also says that new car sales per year in the country average about 11,000 along with 9,000 used car imports. So, we can say there are probably around 600,000 vehicles now in the country. A (2022-2023) budget summary report from KPMG says 0.11% of the country’s fleet is electric. Mauritius needs to increase the penetration of EVs ASAP!
To catalyze the adoption of electric vehicles, the government of Mauritius has made EVs duty free! As of the 1st of July 2022, all hybrid and electric vehicles are now duty-free in Mauritius. This was announced earlier this year by Finance Minister Renganaden Padayachy in his 2022-23 Budget Speech. These incentives were introduced under the “Accelerating The Land Transport Electric Vehicles Transition” program where the government wants to further reduce our dependence on import of petroleum products, decarbonize the land transport system, and accelerate the EV transition.
Brand new and used EVs have been on sale for a while now in Mauritius. So, which cars can one get in Mauritius? The LEAL Group is a major automotive dealership in Mauritius and is the supplier and importer of BMW, MINI, Rolls Royce, Renault, KIA, Mitsubishi, GWM, and Haval in Mauritius. The LEAL Group offers the BMW i range, including the iX, iX3, and i4. They will also offer the new i7 and iX1. The Kia range includes the eNiro and the EV6. The LEAL Group also offers the electric Mini Cooper SE. The Renault Zoe is another EV that is available in the Mauritian market. The LEAL Group also has a partnership with BYD and the critically acclaimed Atto 3 should find its way to Mauritius soon. Other dealers also offer the MG ZS EV. The Hyundai Kona EV is also available in Mauritius. Dealers such EV-Cars have been selling preowned Teslas in Mauritius for a while now.
In a great post on LinkedIn in 2020 before the duty free policy, Olaf Boulle said that “the lower spread between ICE and EV Duty rates on cars destined to the broader market doesn’t allow EVs’ prices to be competitive enough. A Rs 1,37M Zoë will never compete with a Rs 900k Clio (i.e. 50% more expensive), and neither will an i3 priced above Rs 2M. Same goes for the Ioniq (Rs 1,56M) against a Rs 1M Hyundai Accent and for the Kona and eNiro (between Rs 1,7m and 2M) against a Kia Sportage (Rs 1,2M).”
The price difference between premium/luxury EVs and their equivalent ICE vehicles was not that big and hence wealthier customers looking for a Jaguar I Pace, for example, would not really be put off by the price compared to an F Pace in terms of upfront purchase price. We know that to really make a difference in the EV market, closing the price gap in the more mass market vehicle segments is critical. The new duty-free policy for EVs in Mauritius should go a long way in addressing this.
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