The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) andAutomotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) have entered into an all-encompassing partnership that focuses on new energy vehicles (NEVs) and skills development.
A NEV is a type of vehicle that utilises alternative energy sources instead of relying solely on traditional fossil fuels.
These vehicles are designed to be more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on non-renewable resources. They usually incorporate an electric powertrain, which consists of an electric motor, battery pack and associated control systems.
South Africa had 4 764 NEVs on local roads by the end of 2022, according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA.
According to a statement, the CSIR and AIDC solidified their partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which will serve as a framework for joint programmes and co-development initiatives.
They will work together on road mapping studies related to NEVs, explore the conversion and retrofitting of current internal combustion engines to NEVs, as well as opportunities for local availability and conversion of public transport vehicles to NEV buses.
Additionally, potential collaborations will be explored for electric scooter/three-wheeler applications. They will investigate the establishment of a public NEV charging station at the CSIR, the localisation of charging stations and cross-sector opportunities in battery manufacturing.
The CSIR and AIDC also seek to collaborate with small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) within the South African automotive industry.
“This collaboration is a significant milestone in advancing the growth and development of South African automotive manufacturing,” says acting CSIR group executive Sipho Mbhokota.
“By supporting the growth of SMMEs and driving innovation, we aim to create a thriving industry ecosystem and contribute to economic growth.”
The MOU will also focus on skills development, particularly in the context of the fourth industrial revolution, notes the statement.
The CSIR and AIDC will provide theoretical, practical and experiential training to equip the workforce with the necessary expertise to thrive in the evolving automotive landscape.
“Our partnership with the CSIR is a crucial step towards driving growth and innovation in the local automotive industry,” says Andile Africa, CEO of AIDC.
“By embracing smart factory technologies and focusing on skills development, we will enhance efficiency, productivity and competitiveness. We are committed to propelling the industry to new heights of sustainability and global recognition.”