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Audi pumps more funding into SA EV charging stations

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 10 Jul 2024
Audi South Africa’s total investment in charging infrastructure now totals more than R50 million.
Audi South Africa’s total investment in charging infrastructure now totals more than R50 million.

Audi South Africa had made a third wave of investment in electric vehicle (EV) public charging infrastructure, as part of its commitment to prepare the country for a future of wide-scale electric mobility.

According to a statement, the new investment brings the total spend to more than R50 million.

In collaboration with its strategic partner Rubicon, Audi has added six 150kW DC rapid public chargers to key locations across SA.

This follows investments in 2022 and 2023, when Audi and its strategic partners GridCars and Rubicon added more than 120 direct current (DC) and alternating current public charging points to the national grid.

The six new chargers, each offering two charging points that can supply charge concurrently, are positioned along SA’s three main road arteries: the N1, N2 and N3 highways.

“This third wave of investment in the public charging network in SA highlights once again our commitment to electric mobility,” says Sascha Sauer, head of Audi South Africa.

“We believe EVs represent the future of our brand, globally as well as locally, and we’re therefore playing our part in making electric mobility a convenient, straightforward reality for more and more South Africans.”

The partnership between Audi, GridCars and Rubicon includes a roaming agreement, which allows billing cards to be interoperable across the two networks, making charging seamless and accessible for Audi customers and users of other EV brands, says Audi.

The 2023 Annual Car Industry report, compiled by automotive marketplace AutoTrader, found that inadequate charging infrastructure for EVs (59%) and charging time (58%) were cited as the major disadvantages of owning an EV, after the high costs.

Some 25.7% of respondents found “range anxiety” to be another disadvantage, which in previous years had been the top concern.

According to Audi SA, the new chargers will serve commuters living nearby, as well as those motorists venturing further afield on their holidays and work trips. A 150kW ultra-fast charger can top up an average Audi e-tron battery from 5% to 80% in 30 minutes or less, it says.

Rubicon energy and e-mobility director Greg Blandford adds: “Rubicon is proud to have collaborated with Audi SA on the installation of six Wallbox Supernova 150kW DC chargers. These chargers feature European technology and notably, stand among the first of their kind to be installed worldwide.”

Audi says its network of charging infrastructure capitalises on solar installations, where possible, to keep the charging stations optimally operational.