Public opinion is a very interesting development to always keep an eye on. Globally, in both higher (HICs) – and Medium Income Countries (MICs), the best current example is that of Electric Vehicles. While HICs have already accepted this paradigm shift, thanks to increased EV infrastructures, up until two months ago, MICs were still hesitant. This is about to change.
Who can blame Southern-Africans? With a failed state-owned energy supplier, many are not completely convinced; and who needs the addition of range anxiety, when daily life is already saturated with anxiety?
Now, thanks to our North-Eastern friend(s), the demand for oil is growing exponentially, sending our petroleum prices towards monthly records. Additionally, both National and Provincial Governments are looking towards cleaner energy sources. This is making both the public and vehicle manufacturers quite happy.
Two parties, who are currently doing a formidable job in the EV department, are Jaguar and GridCars. The former took a bold step in sending the I-Pace to South Africa, with many thinking it was a bit early for the country to absorb. Yet, together with GridCars, this collaboration is showing how quick this technology is adapting.
So what exactly does this collaborative action mean for Southern Africa?
Formula E to race in Cape Town
Initially planned for 2022, the FIA ABB Formula E championship will be racing in the streets of Green Point, Cape Town. While a fixed date is yet to be revealed, we can confirm that a track layout has been launched, together with a pricey upgrade to the surrounding area in order to host this global event. More so, this race will also see the Gen3 car, which will be faster and take on even more technological advancements than the current Gen2 car.
Jaguar, in further collaboration with E-Movement has been working very hard over the past few years to bring this championship to the Southern point of Africa.
We recently drove the circuit with a brand new Jaguar I-Pace. This is available to view on our Galimoto Media YouTube page:
Competitors will start at the Green Point precinct’s Vlei Road. Cars will then turn left onto Helen Suzman Boulevard, and take another left onto Granger Bay Boulevard, which will lead the cars to the pristine Mouille Point’s Beach Road. Lastly, the cars will turn left onto Fritz Sonnenberg Road, before taking the only sharp right-hand turn onto Vlei Road again.
To host a Season 9 race, will, however, mean that roads will have to be smoothened and some widened, with other small infrastructural changes also being planned. Luckily, the City of Cape Town is ready to contribute to this department.
We are anxiously waiting to confirm the event date.
GridCars electrifying our major cities and transport routes.
What is the purpose of owning an EV, if it takes 24-hours to charge at home, with the ever-looming threat of an Eskom loadshedding surprise, I hear you ask? Actually this is the first question I heard from multiple curious bystanders; your normal ‘Karen’s’ and oomies with fading hair colour…
Thanks to GridCars, our recharging infrastructure changed significantly during the last two years. Head over to https://www.chargestations.co.za/ChargeMap.aspx?UserGroupID=facf9751-58ca-490f-8ca5-d2b433e6b2e5 and you will see almost 25 fast charging stations within the Cape Town CBD and 119 in Johannesburg. From there, charging stations are never further than 200km apart on the N1 and N2 highways.
Granted, not all fast charging stations within the CBDs will house the 60kW (500 Volts) units which can recharge your car within 2 hours, but most on the national highways will either be a 60kW (500 Volts) or 300kW (500Volts) unit. As the demand now exponentially increases, so too will the increase of local infrastructure. Usually situated within shopping centres, users are not left without anything to do.
Structure this along with meal times, keep a steady foot on the accelerator, and this can be done with ease. A short 30km trip from the Cape Town Waterfront to Bloubergstrand resulted in only 4% of the 390km total range on the new Jaguar I-Pace being used. This is thanks to an adherence to the national speed limit and a reliance on the regenerative braking system, which recharges the I-Pace while driving.
Another question was that of value for money. With EVs currently not being financially accessible to all, it is important to realise that although the initial capital investment might be daunting, running costs will be minimal. The price in running an I-Pace, compared to a car which uses on average 10l/100km of fuel, is almost three times less. Secondly, owners also have very low maintenance costs as the brakes are hardly being used. No parts are also reliant on oil and water.
For long, Southern-Africans sat on the fence when it came to question of a switch to EVs. Fuel prices kept us in our comfort zones, but with current affairs globally, ‘EV optimism’ has grown remarkably within a space of a month. For many middle-class citizens, the I-Pace might be somewhat out of reach, but when one compares the long term costs to a R1.2 million equivalent internal combustion engine vehicle, the findings might surprise you.