SA to get more ultra-fast EV chargers
Zero Carbon Charge says electric cars can be charged in about 25 minutes
SA’s electric-vehicle (EV) charging network is to be boosted by a new player.
In a R1.8bn investment, Zero Carbon Charge aims to roll out a national network of ultra-fast EV chargers at 150km intervals on strategic routes across all nine provinces. It claims they can charge an EV in about 25 minutes.
The venture is aimed at serving the future EV charging needs of the largely underserved subsegment of travel outside urban areas, say co-founders Andries Malherbe and Joubert Roux.
The ultra-fast charging stations will be off-grid and 100% green and thus completely reliable, says Roux, director of operations at Zero Carbon Charge.
“It is a solution that addresses both load-shedding challenges as well as range anxiety for drivers outside urban areas.”
Slow adoption of EVs in the country is partly as a consequence of uncertainties about the reliability of electricity supply due to load-shedding and range anxiety regarding the availability of charging infrastructure especially in non-urban areas, says the company.
The planned first phase of the Zero Carbon Charge project will comprise 120 stations for charging of passenger and commercial vehicles and small trucks. With the support of relevant departments expediting approvals swiftly, the company expects to have phase 1 up and running by Q1 2025.
The company says it has agreements with 91 landowners to have 100% grid-independent charging stations developed on their land. Plans are forging ahead to break ground on the first site — Dassiesfontein on the N2 before the end of the year.
All sites will include a farm stall, parking area and restroom facilities, with a multiple-vehicle charging station area and a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
The new venture will add to SA’s rapidly growing charging network, which already has several hundred public sites with GridCars and Rubicon the major players.
The number of charging points per EV is one of the highest in the world with about six cars per charging station.
Audi was the first to bring ultra-fast chargers to SA and in January the carmaker, in partnership with Rubicon, boosted the country’s EV charging capacity with 43 additional stations.
With the world moving to EVs and a number of countries set to ban the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles soon, overseas sales of EVs have soared in recent years.
The uptake in SA has been a lot slower due to high EV prices and Eskom’s woes, and it’s estimated that less than 2,000 of the 12.7-million cars on SA’s roads are electrically powered. In 2022 local EV sales grew 132% to 506 units, but off a very low base of 218 units the year before.
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