Charge as you fly: EV charging stations have been set up at SA’s three major airports. Picture: SUPPLIED
Charge as you fly: EV charging stations have been set up at SA’s three major airports. Picture: SUPPLIED

Electric-vehicle (EV) owners can now return to fully charged cars when they leave them parked at SA’s three major airports.

Airports Company SA (Acsa) and BMW SA have partnered to install BMW ChargeNow EV charging stations at OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport.

EVs accessing the stations will enjoy exclusive parking bays, with OR Tambo and Cape Town each equipped with two ChargeNow stations that accommodate up to four cars at a time, while King Shaka has one station that can take two cars.

The AC chargers can charge an EV from zero to 80% in about three hours. They are the first EV charging stations at any African airport and address the range anxiety that EV drivers experience, said Fundi Sithebe, Acsas new acting CEO.

The best part is that it’s free, for now. Acsa will cover all electricity costs for 12 months from November 1 2019. Additionally all EVs (including the Nissan Leaf and Jaguar I-Pace which are compatible with the ChargeNow stations) will enjoy free parking — for a maximum of four days at a time — at the three airports during November.

Speaking at the launch of the ChargeNow EV charging station at OR Tambo on Friday, Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW SA & Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “These new ChargeNow stations in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are physical manifestations of the seismic change our industry is going through.

“I’d like to thank Acsa for its vision, as integrated transport is at the heart of convenience. As the move to EVs gathers pace, I imagine we’ll see more of these partnerships."

BMW has been rolling out charging infrastructure across the country since it launched the BMW i3 EV and BMW i8 hybrid in 2015, and these charging points expand the tally of BMW ChargeNow charging points to more than 60.

Abbott said SA can become a leading country in vehicle electrification and called on government to become part of the EV revolution by reducing lower import duties on EVs, which are currently taxed at a higher rate than petrol and diesel cars.