Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) such as the Ora Good Cat (also known as the Funky Cat) are now being offered in several markets around the world, including in Thailand and the United Kingdom. The Ora Good Cat, along with similar models from other brands — such as the MG4, VW ID.3, and BYD Dolphin — are in a vehicle segment (hatchbacks) that is one of the most popular with consumers. Fossil-fueled equivalents such as the VW Golf and the Ford Focus have been favorites for many consumers around the world for decades, The introduction of battery electric cars in this segment is sure to be one of the major enablers of the transition to electric mobility in a lot of countries, which is why we need more BEV options in this segment in more places around the world.
These hatchbacks are also very popular in South Africa. This is why I was excited to hear that the Ora Good Cat will be introduced into the South African market this year. The Ora Good Cat could be one of the vehicles that will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in South Africa. That’s because South Africa urgently needs a more affordable EV with good range.
Of all the models available in South Africa, only the Mini Cooper SE starts from below R1 million ($57,000). The Mini Cooper SE is currently the cheapest BEV in South Africa at around R742,142 ($38,000). However, it’s a low-range EV compared to several other EVs on the global market, with a real-world range of about 180 km. The absence of cheaper electric vehicles in the market has been one of the major barriers to EV adoption.
There is some good news. The Ora Cat’s pricing for South Africa has just been announced. As reported in the local media, the Ora Cat will start from R716,900 ($37,000) for the 63 kWh version. Models with higher trims will go up to R915,900 ($47,100).
The Ora Cat will be a game changer in a market that is starved of more affordable BEVs, given its range of about 390 km in combined city/highway driving and a real-world range of 340 km according to EVdatabase. If we use the real-world range as stated in EVdatabase, the Ora Cat 63 kWh has almost double the range of the Mini Cooper SE, yet the Ora will now be $1,000 cheaper and become the most affordable electric car in South Africa.
If we look at South Africa’s BEV sales charts, the Mini Cooper SE is one of the top selling vehicles. In 2022, the MINI Cooper SE was in second place. The MINI Cooper SE sold 96 units in South Africa. This year it has maintained its relatively strong sales in this small market, selling 32 units in Q1. Now, with the Ora Cat being cheaper and having almost double the range, the feline Ora model should do well in South Africa.
I am really excited about the arrival of the Ora Funky Cat/Good Cat in South Africa. A lot of vehicles offered in the South African market find their way into other markets in the region, such as Zimbabwe, as a lot of dealerships in South Africa have relationships with dealerships across the border.
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