Eskom: Don't worry about load shedding, we're ready to power electric cars

Eskom announced on Monday that it was working together with vehicle manufacturers to "unlock the potential of electric powered vehicles in South Africa".

In a statement released on Monday, the power utility noted significant growth in the electric vehicle industry in international markets, saying Eskom should not be left behind in the advent of the burgeoning sector.

The statement cites the United Kingdom, where electric cars are expected to make up 60% of all motor vehicles by 2035.

Eskom’s statement on Monday said South Africa has seen about 1000 electric vehicles sold since 2015. The statement said this lagged behind the market in Europe and China.

'We can handle the demand'

"The writing is on the wall. Electric vehicles will be the transport medium of the future and we as South Africa need to be part of the movement, or risk massive losses if we are not geared for this new wave of technology," read the Eskom statement.

The statement moved to reassure South Africans that Eskom would have the capacity to cope with an increase in demand for electric cars, in spite fears of load shedding.


"Those concerned about Eskom's ability to supply the necessary electricity need not worry. Even a massive growth in electric vehicles will not have a major impact on the overall demand during any normal day. Other than that, Eskom is well advanced in its research on photovoltaic and battery storage options to power electric vehicles in the future," the statement said.

The statement said Eskom had been working with car manufacturers, non-government organisations and metropolitan municipalities to develop long-term solutions to capitalise on the rise of electric vehicle transportation.

"It is a fact that South Africa has major investments and income streams related to fuel power cars. However, international experience is showing that electric vehicle manufacturing, charging stations and battery manufacturing are creating new job opportunities and new markets, often lined to retaining people who were working in the fuel car industries," the statement said.

Eskom has long been plagued by ageing power plants, insufficient maintenance and allegations of state capture. Last month, the power supply was so critical, the power utility implemented days of Stage 4 load shedding.

Economists have spoken extensively about the risks an unreliable power supply poses on the economy, including another technical recession and a possible sovereign credit downgrade.

Last week, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and Eskom executives announced that their interventions had stabilised the situation to the point where Stage 4 load shedding will be avoided until August. Instead, should load shedding be implemented, it would likely only be at Stage 1.