More electric vehicle charging stations for SA

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Eight electric vehicle (EV) public charging stations will be installed throughout SA this week, as part of National Transport Month.

The initiative is a partnership between the Department of Transport and the Gauteng Provincial Government, in collaboration with digital solutions provider Generation.e and electrical products manufacturer ACDC Dynamics.

Last week, the partnership brought the international EV Road Trip (EVRT) to SA for the first time, which saw local vehicle manufacturers BMW, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover put their EVs to the test, as they raced on a seven-day road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

The journey, which will end on Thursday, culminates in the installation of the public stations across four sites at the Travel Inn Shell Ultra City in Kroonstad, De Stijl Gariep Hotel in Gariep Dam, Wolwefontein Hotel in Wolwefontein and the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.

The erection of the public charging stations seeks to build a solid foundation for future expansion across SA, to support the smarter mobility industry.

According to charging infrastructure mapping Web site PlugShare, the local public charging network currently consists of 132 charging stations.

Generation.e co-founder and CEO Ben Pullen says Generation.e and ACDC Dynamics hope to inspire automotive industry players to continue the rollout of charging stations countrywide.

“The charging stations installed by ACDC Dynamics serve as a contribution to expanding the network and we hope the awareness we are creating will inspire others in the private and public sectors to follow suit.

“As well as creating much-needed infrastructure for the country, charging stations create new business and job opportunities as seen in large international countries that have already started to push for mass adoption of EVs. Generation.e is committed to continue to work with the South African government and other stakeholders to make smarter mobility a reality in SA.”

In March, Jaguar Land Rover became the third vehicle company to introduce an EV range in SA, with the Jaguar I-Pace. The first were Nissan Leaf, introduced in 2013, and BMW i3, introduced in 2015.

Almost a thousand EVs have been sold in SA to date – indicating a 167% increase since January 2018. However, the pace is much slower than in other parts of the globe.

Last year, Jaguar Land Rover partnered with EV charging service and equipment provider GridCars, on a multimillion-rand project to build public charging stations across SA's frequently-travelled highways.

BMW collaborated with Nissan to build almost 60 ChargeNow charging stations in SA. The car-makers say they hope to expand the base by adding an additional 30 ChargeNow stations to the South African charging network.

In order to boost the uptake of EVs and improve infrastructure in SA, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) is working on a proposal aimed at drawing government’s attention to help better prepare SA for the electrification of transport.

“The evolution of EVs is an important development for the local automotive industry, and we want to make sure SA is not left behind,” Mike Mabasa, CEO of NAAMSA, told ITWeb in August.

“We are engaging the Department of Trade and Industry on five key proposals that need to be addressed: the development of a clear policy framework on the local rollout of EVs and hybrid vehicles; better infrastructure provision throughout the country; establishing manufacturing plants for local production; the reduction of the 25% EV import tariff; and considerations around the type of technologies and components to be used in EVs.”

In order for the national government to implement policy incentives around EVs, Pullen believes there needs to be an increase in infrastructure available, and an injection of investment to finance infrastructural projects.

“Whilst infrastructure development has been relatively good when measured against the number of EVs in SA, there is still a growing need to expand and strengthen infrastructure, especially as we expect the number of EVs to grow considerably in 2020. It will be this way for many years to come, which presents a clear opportunity for South African businesses and entrepreneurs,” concludes Pullen.

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