Cape Town launches solar-powered electric car charging station

CAPE TOWN – The City of Cape Town launched its first electric vehicle charging station free to the public on Wednesday.

The public electric vehicle charging station is located in the parking area of the Bellville Civic Centre, the City said in a statement.

According to the City, it is the first of two solar-powered EV charging stations that will be offered free of charge for the first two years to members of the public.

“The sites were chosen because of their convenient, safe and visible locations. The chargers were donated to the City by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). E-mobility offers an opportunity to create a healthier, more inclusive city, and one that uses a proactive climate change response to help drive the Covid-19 recovery,” the city said.

It said the global transport sector was rapidly moving towards electrification and the list of countries to ban the internal combustion engine (ICE) was growing.

Electric cars still unaffordable

However, electric cars still remain scarce and unaffordable for South African buyers, with just a handful of options available to buyers, starting at R642 000 in the case of Mini’s Cooper SE. The BMW i3 starts at R721 700, the Jaguar I-Pace at R1 942 600 and the Porsche Taycan at R2.5m. However, various manufacturers, including Volkswagen, are planning to introduce EVs in the coming years.

Executive deputy mayor Alderman Ian Neilson admitted that the electric mobile trend had not hit South Africa yet and if the automotive manufacturing and component supply chains did not adapt to the trends, the sector would be left behind.

“The demand for transport services in the city will grow in the coming years and public transport presents the best business case for electrification. Currently, 38% of morning peak trips are on public transport, with about 95% of public transport users being in the low- to low-middle income brackets.

“As such, for many Capetonians, public transport is their main, and often, only way of getting around.

“Even during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, public transport was still in demand.

“Thus, the challenge the industry faces is to reduce the environmental impact of the sector while delivering improved mobility,” Neilson said.

Mayoral committee member for energy and climate change councillor Phindile Maxiti said the Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted the devastating economic impact that global crises can have and had shown that planning for climate resilience and reducing emissions was important.

“Globally, cities have been the electric vehicle champions, supporting the uptake of charging infrastructure, driving research, education and awareness campaigns and the transition of public fleets to EVs.

“This kind of proactive response to climate change will also assist our city’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as the green economy offers new opportunities for businesses and job seekers.

“It also helps to ensure that the local economy can continue to trade competitively in a global world that is rapidly rejecting carbon-intensive goods and services,” Maxiti said.

African News Agency (ANA)

August 10, 2021

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