Telkom introduces 6 T-Connect electric vans to improve customer service in South Africa

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December 12, 2023
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2 min read
Telkom's TConnect electric vans
Source: ITWeb
  • Telkom has announced plans to launch electric vehicles a week after the South African Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition unveiled the government's plans to launch its first EV in 2026.
  • With plans to launch more in 2024, the telco has unveiled six EVs, known as Telkom T-Connect vans, which are still in the proof-of-concept stage.
  • Locally manufactured by South African company MellowVans, the vans will offer digital services to beachfronts, office parks, gated communities, and events in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape.

Even though the South African telco is the third-biggest mobile network provider in the nation, it has found it challenging to compete with MTN and Vodacom's duopoly in the mobile phone market. So, Telkom's entry into the electric vehicle market is part of a larger strategy to diversify revenue streams and expand its offerings beyond traditional telecom services. 

With Telkom EVs, consumers can pay their bills, place orders for delivery through Telkom's online store, and register for digital services like fibre-to-the-home by scanning the embedded QR codes on the T-Connect fleet.

Per the telco, all these transactions will happen on a cashless platform that offers zero-rated services.

This announcement comes just a week after South Africa's Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition announced the country's plans to launch its first electric vehicle in 2026. The minister acknowledged that the government is already producing hybrids but will launch its first EVs in three years.

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In November 2023, Mercedes-Benz South Africa, which currently offers an extensive selection of electric vehicles for sale in South Africa, announced that it would invest R40 million ($2.1 million) to establish charging stations for electric cars in the country. 

South Africa's surge in the use of electric vehicles has positioned it as a leader in the EV industry in Africa. The country in Southern Africa announced a new energy vehicle policy about a week ago, and the cabinet approved the draft white paper on electric vehicles. 

The white paper outlines a thorough long-term plan that would assist South Africa in becoming a globally competitive leader in EV production. 

In contrast to other African nations, South Africa had over 45 EV-focused businesses and approximately 1,000 operational EVs in 2022. Kenya came in second with more than 300 EVs. 

Additionally, 581 electric vehicles, including cars and trucks, are reported to have been sold in South Africa in the first seven months of 2023. 

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Even though the nation is actively exploring the electric vehicle market, low grid support and load shedding persist. But in a recent development, the minister of electricity in South Africa announced that the nation will purchase an extra 2.5 GW of nuclear power.

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