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Africa: Social & reputational risks could slow down the uptake of environment-friendly electric cars, claims columnist

"Hopes and fears as use of electric cars shifts gears"

The adoption of electric cars is expected to accelerate rapidly in the near future, as consumer demands shift towards the new technology and more government policies seek to address climate change...This will mean more electric cars will be seen on African roads, with South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt leading the way...

It will not, however, be a smooth ride to the electric cars. While the Covid-19 crisis may dampen the outlook for global electric car sales for 2020 and beyond, the anticipated long-term growth also brings a range of technical and operational risks, both from a product liability perspective and in other areas. “From supply chain networks to production processes to the product itself – the automotive industry will have to respond to many emerging risks to make the transition to electric vehicles happen,” Daphne Ricken, a senior underwriter at AGCS told Digital Business. The e anticipated growth of electric cars, she added, brings the prospect of new defects and performance issues.“We will see more expensive repair costs; new fire and cyber threats; and even reputational issues around sustainable sourcing and disposal of critical components and raw materials for batteries,” she said...

Effective recycling and reuse of materials will therefore be essential. Environmental and social concerns will also put emphasis on the sustainable sourcing of minerals, as well as traceability and transparency of supply chains. High voltage batteries could also pose a pollution risk, if not properly disposed of.