Drop in Hybrid vehicles in SA

Over the last few months, the number of locally available Hybrid vehicles has seen a slight drop.

As the previous generation W212 Mercedes E-Class ran out, so did the hybrid model. It is not unusual for new models to have a smaller selection of engine types, hopefully with time the new W213 will get a plug-in hybrid. Much like the promised C350e coming to the W205 range.

But besides the E-Class, both the Lexus GS 450H SE and Toyota Prius have quietly been removed from the local market. The Prius may also be making way for the 4th generation Prius which was launched in the US earlier this year, but no news on Toyota SA’s website of when it may be expected.

New Toyota Prius

New Toyota Prius – toyota.com

One recent addition however is the BMW X5e. Coming in at just over a bar, it may not be the cheapest, but it’s nice to see that some manufacturers are pushing forward with electric integration. Earlier this year Tesla announced that they’d be launching their new Model 3 in SA as well.

You can see a full list of currently available hybrid and electric vehicles here.

SA Plant to produce latest Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz South Africa have confirmed the introduction of production of the new Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in Hybrid at their East London plant. The C350e is only Mercedes’ second plugin hybrid they currently produce (following on the S500e).

Current Mercedes (non-plugin) hybrids include the E300 and S400.


Hopefully we’ll see the new C350e joining the local lineup of C-classes, along with the newly anticipated GLC- and C-Coupe as well as C-cabriolet.



Light reading

I always love reading about the newest developments in the space of autonomous vehicles; and electric vehicles seem to go hand in hand with this. Find below three relatively old articles on the topic, not much has changed though in terms of the relevance of their comments.

source: google.com/selfdriving

source: Google

  • If Autonomous Vehicles Rule the World (from horseless to driverless) – The Economist
    • Some thoughts on alternate futures and the impact of driverless cars on society.
  • Self-driving cars could be the answer to reducing SA road deaths – Radio Overberg
    • Impact of driverless cars in a South African context (not only locally applicable)
  • Elon Musk: “In the future, human-driven cars may be illegal” – Karissa Bell for Mashable
    • Why humans driving could be outlawed under certain circumstances.

It’s difficult to know what will happen. In theory many of the proposed uses for autonomous cars in the future require a sudden or overnight change. But historically changes require time. They creep up on us until they are part of us and there is no longer a use for the old.

It’s difficult to conceive of a technology so advanced and beneficial that majority can see its benefits and enforce its use in an instantaneous upgrade. Cars currently have too much value, and too much money is locked up in, or owed on vehicles. This has to be balanced off with what manufacturers are willing to do.

I will be surprised to see much change in the place of autonomous vehicles before the end of this decade. All the testing and prototyping that is underway is good and necessary. But legislation and people’s attitudes are slow to change, and this will ultimately be the biggest influence on implementation.


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