Showroom: Royal Road Helvetia, St Pierre, Mauritius
We don’t go by a day at CarClub, without talking about electric cars or cars with some electrification with our lovely customers.
It seems people are getting more and more interested or intrigued by this type of vehicles. After all, Elon Musk was, for a moment, the richest man in the world, which is partly thanks to Tesla, his fully electric car company.
The hype around electric cars is real and is here to last. Many newcomers onto the market are bringing disruption to an already disrupted segment of the automotive industry. Check out NIO, a Chinese brand that will soon enter production.
In the case of cars, electricity is cool, trendy and relevant in this day and age.
However, it is suited to our roads, climate and lifestyle? We’re here to find out.
Let’s start by splitting the category into 2, hybrids and fully electric cars.
Hybrids have been on the market for a while now. It all started with the import of Gen 1 Prius, as imported pre-owned vehicles. The adoption of hybrid cars has been tremendous in Mauritius. To this day, there are over 17,000 hybrid vehicles on our roads, with 15,000+ imported by pre-owned car dealers.
Why this craze for a hybrid? It is economical, can be cheap to run (we will get back to this later), and has been subsidised in terms of excise duties by the Government, making them more affordable.
Hybrids have both a combustion engine and an electric motor, giving the customer the best of both worlds.
You might be thinking that it is too good to be true? Well, yes and no, there are drawbacks. Maintenance is pointy and has to be done by a specialist who uses the right products such as lubricants for your combustion engine, and batteries, especially Nickel Ion ones, tend to wear out anywhere around 120,000Kms or more seven years and can be costly to replace.
Overall, utilise your hybrid car and maintain it properly. You will always find yourself in a cash flow favourable scenario compared to owning an internal combustion engine car. If you’d like to see the maths behind this, pop by the office, and we’ll explain how alongside a nice cup of coffee.
The evolution of sales in electric cars compared to hybrid is negligible, yet it is somewhat encouraging. As of 31/12/2020, 331 fully electric vehicles in Mauritius, with 136 sold in 2020 alone.
The 2020 sales figure is four times higher than 2018, proving that interest is cropping up for those vehicles.
Why is it slower than hybrids? It can be attributed to several factors such a cost and the fact that the technology is still ‘scary’. Early adopters enjoy; others wait and see.
Interior view, Tesla Model 3
So, is it helpful or not in a Mauritian context? Does it make sense?
In short, yes, it freaking does! The average mileage a person drives a year on our tiny Island is 20,000Kms, with daily commutes rarely exceeding the 100Km mark. Therefore, no range anxiety (yes, it’s scary when you don’t have many battery left).
Imagine a maintenance-free car, great, right. Electric cars are as close as they will get to this. You have to maintain the main moving parts, i.e. tyres, suspension and brakes.
What does the future hold for Mauritius then?
Given the incentives currently in place, more and more electrified vehicles on the roads for sure. What we drive will eventually be influenced by what manufacturers make. Tighter and tighter restrictions, in Europe notably, are pushing OEMs to partly or completely stop the development and production of ICE cars. As such, we are condemned to buy what they sell.
But is it necessarily bad news? Not in our opinion. Whilst we will miss the sound of a glorious BMW inline 6, we have to do what is suitable for the environment. It will become the new normal.
There are several challenges that the country will have to face, however. The charging infrastructure, albeit less critical than in more civilised countries, has to be set up, and we will need to import competencies and hardware required to repair these vehicles. However, it is nothing impossible given the level of the auto industry in Mauritius.
To conclude, electric cars are coming and should be embraced. They are different and fun cars too. Take our Tesla Model 3, for example. We think it’s the perfect package for Mauritius! Come and check it out at our showroom, you will be pleasantly surprised, just as much as we have been ☺