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First electric road trip in SA surges ahead

2019-10-06 06:00

Ferdi De Vos

BMW electric vehicle

Image: SANRAL

South Africa’s first electric vehicle road trip (EVRT) powered by ACDC Dynamics and driven by Generation.e in partnership with the Department of Transport, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the African Alliance for Energy Productivity, kicked off yesterday from the Sun Arena at Time Square in Pretoria.

From there the road-trippers, in the latest full-electric BMW i3, Nissan Leaf and Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, headed for Bloemfontein on a route over Gariep Dam, Graaff-Reinet, Port Elizabeth, Knysna and Worcester ending in Cape Town to prove it is possible to drive across the country without a single drop of petrol.

READ: Driven: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 SE AWD

At the official start of EVRT Africa Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, said electric mobility is a main strategic focus of the BMW Group. “The company will now introduce the 25 electrified models previously announced for 2025, two years earlier in 2023. Half of those models will be fully electric.

"We expect to experience a steep growth curve up to 2025, with sales of our electrified vehicles set to increase by an average of 30% every year. We believe that sustainable mobility thrives wherever there is an effective combination of three factors: 

"Customer demand, legislation and innovative partnerships such as the EVRT Africa. It is vital that the public and private sector continue to cooperate to introduce smarter mobility solutions in South Africa."

According to Brian Hastie, Network Development Director at Jaguar Land Rover for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa the country is well-positioned for mass electric vehicle adoption. "This road trip will highlight the recent strides made by various stakeholders, including Jaguar South Africa, in infrastructure development and product availability.

"The I-Pace was introduced early this year and this platform is a great way to show a broader audience how I-Pace customers are already successfully living with electric vehicles and existing infrastructure in urban environments and on long-distance journeys. We are on track to deliver the promise with a portfolio of electrified products including fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles."

Kabelo Rabotho, Director of Marketing at Nissan South Africa, said Nissan’s contribution to electrification started with the launch of the first-ever electric Nissan Leaf in South Africa in 2013. “In recent years we have been carrying out several initiatives together with government, key stakeholders and institutions to create strategic alliances to support the creation of a sustainable EV ecosystem in South Africa.” 

“Nissan’s participation in the EVRT and Smarter Mobility Africa Summit is important in educating consumers on the benefits of electric vehicles and accelerating transformation to smarter mobility,” he added.

New charging stations

Ben Pullen, CEO of Generation.e, the company that is bringing the EVRT Africa to the country, said he is excited that these car brands are at the forefront of making the future of smarter mobility a reality in South Africa. “We hope the event will be the start of many initiatives geared towards driving the adoption of all forms of smarter mobility, including electric vehicles, in South Africa.”

Road test: 200km driven in an electric BMW i3

He added that it is vital to increase public awareness and education in order to inspire the shift towards smarter mobility. “It is for this reason that we are also rolling out electric vehicle charging stations powered by ACDC Dynamics at stops along the way.”

ACDC Dynamics are committed to promoting a shift towards smarter mobility and a greener economy to provide opportunities for local small and medium enterprises through the deployment of accessible EV charging stations across South Africa.

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With only 120 publicly accessible charging stations primarily located in the Gauteng province, ACDC Dynamics will launch charging stations at approximately eight locations along the route of the EVRT Africa, including the Travel Inn at Shell Ultra City, Kroonstad, De Stijl Gariep, Gariep Dam, Wolwefontein Hotel, Wolwefontein, and The Vineyard, Newlands, Cape Town.

Public involvement

There are also other ways the public can experience electric vehicles during the road trip, Pullen added. This include:

– Test drives of the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf or Jaguar I-Pace at Boardwalk Hotel, Port Elizabeth:
5 October at 4.30pm - 7pm; 

– Taking a tour of the uYilo eMobility Programme at Nelson Mandela University: 
7 October from 8.30am - 11.30am 

– Witness the power of electric vehicles during the Regeneration Challenge at Simola Hill
8 October from 5.30am - 6.30am

– Celebrate the launch of another charging station and enjoying test driving experiences at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town:
9 October from 11am - 4pm.

-The grand finale will be at the Silo District at V&A Waterfront on 10 October from 3.30pm - 7.30pm,

For more information or the latest updates on the EVRT, follow @EVRTAfrica2019 or #EVRTAfrica2019.

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