Nissan’s Leaf was the world’s biggest-selling EV in its first generation. Nissan SA is still deciding whether it will introduce the second generation, which we drove in the UK late last year. It’s a vast improvement over the first version, with more interior comfort and refinement and an edgier design. It also has a clever E-pedal, which can be both the accelerator and a brake, allowing you to use it as a brake by lifting off. This has the dual advantage, not only of slowing you to a stop, but also putting some charge back into the batteries through regeneration. There is a brake pedal too for when a taxi suddenly stops in front of you, but it also has various self-driving and driver-assistance systems through its ProPilot setup.
If money is no object and you value exclusivity, then Rimac could be your ultimate supercar. The Croatian manufacturer is coming to South Africa this year though distributor Electric Life and not only promises the incredibly fast Concept One (913kW, 1 600Nm, 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 340km/h), but also the super-exclusive Mandrolli edition that bears the signature of Nelson Mandela and is endorsed by his foundation. You may have to travel to the Geneva Motor Show in March to bid for one, though. The Concept Two is also on its way with a claimed 0-97km/h time of just 1.8 seconds, but allocation is seriously limited and you’ll be lucky to see one — let alone own one.
At the other end of the scale, Electric Life will bring the Italian Tazzari brand to South Africa this year. Expect it to be the most affordable EV in the market with prices expected to start well below half a million. You get something more basic though, a sort of cool urban runaround — exactly what many people expect EVs to be anyway. They may even be assembled locally and that will make them South Africa’s first home-produced EV, sort of.