The electric vehicle revolution - the South African media are starting to realise independence from oil will save money and the environment
Rising petrol prices are making life difficult for many South Africans, with the poor suffering the most, as always. When petrol goes up, so does everything else: food, clothing, medicines, you name it. Yet, technology has a perfect solution for that will completely eliminate our reliance on petrol.
Electric vehicles, or EVs, have been around for some time now, but only recently have they become mainstream, thanks to EV manufacturer Tesla, founded by South Africa-born Elon Musk.
The Model S' twin engines are powered by more than 5000 lithium-ion batteries, similar to those used in cellphones and laptops, except that they can carry the same charge as 7000 cellphones.
This gives the car enough power to drive for up to 560km on a full charge. To fully charge the vehicle takes about nine hours when the car is connected to a 240-volt power source. This means that a person doing a daily 20km commute to work will only need to charge the car once every two weeks.
Tesla claims that their batteries have the highest energy density in the market, with the lowest cost per kilowatt, which basically means that the batteries are cheaper to make, and can store more power, than any other battery.
This gives the car its incredibly long driving range before the need to recharge. What about the running costs? In short, the Model S is cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol-powered car. Consider this: The Tesla Model S is rated at about 20 kilowatt hours per 100km, which translates to around R17 per 100km at an electricity rate of 86c per kilowatt hour.
After the October 2018 fuel price hike, a Toyota Corolla would cost R104.21 to travel the same distance. This is a huge saving.
The author asks what is holding South Africa back.. well it is a lot of things, unfortunately:
- Zero government incentives
- Lower purchase prices needed
- Salespeople who stop telling you about EV "perceived problems" and actually try to sell you one
- Little investment in charging networks
- Lack of awareness by consumers
- Diesel still being marketed in SA as "clean"
- Solutions needed for on-street charging
|The electric vehicle revolution | Cape Argus
South Africa could become Africa’s leader in adopting this new technology