Agilitee, a South African electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has announced plans to build a plant in Zimbabwe, citing a surge in demand following the unveiling of its demonstration unit in Harare late last year.
Mandla Lamba, the chief executive officer of Agilitee, told NewsDay Business yesterday that Zimbabwe became a desirable destination because it has large lithium deposits that have attracted several miners, with US$300 million set aside for the mineral resource’s extraction and export.
Lamba told NewsDay Business that the process of establishing a plant will begin in July, and that Agilitee will unveil a series of new products in South Africa on Friday.
“In terms of pushing the entire agenda, Zimbabwe has more markets than South Africa because we had a better reception from the government than we did in South Africa,” Lamba said.
“So we’ll open in Zimbabwe on July 1st, but we’ll begin the process of constructing the assembly plant first. We’ll be bringing electric vehicle components into Zimbabwe to put them together. This also aids in the creation of jobs and the growth of the economy. Remember that there are Australian investors mining lithium in Zimbabwe, as well as Chinese companies. So that’s how we see Zimbabwe’s future potential,” Lamba told NewsDay Business. Lithium is used in the production of electric vehicle batteries.
Agilitee had received healthy orders from Zimtorque, a Zimbabwean EV dealer, he said.
“We got an order from Zimtorque, who were looking for some cars for the government. “This demonstrates that the Zimbabwean government is already making progress,” Lamba said.
Zimbabwe is expected to become one of the world’s largest lithium producers once several greenfield projects in various stages of development come online, with projected output accounting for 20% of the global market.
Agilitee’s decision came just a few months after Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda launched an electric vehicle demonstration, demonstrating the government’s commitment to bringing the technology to the country.
Tanaka Kutama, Zimtorque’s e-mobility boss, said yesterday: “We have sold 15 EVs since August 2020.” Because electric vehicles are a bit pricey, we’ve partnered with a bank to make them available. We’re working on a plan to make them more affordable in Zimbabwe.”
“Of course, we’re attempting to entice well-known EV manufacturers such as Tesla and Nissan to come to Zimbabwe and assemble cars for export. We also want Japanese and American companies to set up shop in the country. He stated, “We need to diversify our market.”
Elon Musk, the world’s second richest man, owns a majority stake in Tesla, a giant American electric vehicle and clean energy company.
Tesla had the highest sales of plug-in and battery electric passenger cars in 2020, according to industry data, capturing over 16 percent of the global market in each segment.
The company develops and installs solar photovoltaic energy generation systems in the United States through its subsidiary Tesla Energy.