For many consumers, range anxiety remains the key reason they’re reluctant to commit to an electric vehicle (EV). Jaguar’s been undertaking various initiatives to alleviate these concerns, including a recent publicity event that saw an I-Pace driven from London to Brussels on a single charge. And now it’s announced it’s building 82 public charging stations for EVs across South Africa over the next two months.
We would’ve expected a massive push to grow the number of charging stations around the country to come from BMW or Nissan, but there you have it. Evidently Jaguar is planning a serious push to get South African drivers to consider its forthcoming I-Pace EV that’s due to go on sale in the first quarter of 2019.
The BMW i3 (without the petrol range extender) and Nissan Leaf both have ranges in the region of 200km, meaning they’re only really suited to urban commuting. The I-Pace boast a range of 470 km range, which is makes it better suited to road-tripping… assuming you can stop and top it up along with way while you’re refuelling yourself with a Wimpy toasted sandwich. Which is where Jaguar’s “Powerway” comes in (more on this later).
Where can I charge up?
Jaguars charging stations will be installed in the parking lots at every Jaguar Land Rover retailer in South Africa, with a further 30 to be erected at various shopping centres in major hubs, including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein.
The company is also constructing something called the Jaguar Powerway — a series of 22 charging stations along the N3 between Gauteng and Durban, the N1 between Gauteng and Cape Town, and on the Garden Route along the N2.
This is great news even if you don’t plan on buying the I-Pace, because all of the charging stations will work with any electric vehicle, not just Jaguars, as they use the AC standard Type 2 socket.
How can I charge up?
Most of the public charging stations will be 60kWh fast chargers, which means you’ll get 100km of range with a 20-minute charge on the I-Pace. If you can hang around for more than an hour, you could get the battery up to 80%.
If you’re one of the lucky few to cruise around in an I-Pace when the charging stations roll out — you will be able to use an RFID card to connect to charging stations and manage payments. As further incentive to make the switch to electric, all Jaguar and Land Rover EV or PHEV owners will receive a 25% discount on the electricity rates at charging stations.
On that note — Jaguar reckons that a full recharge in an I-Pace will cost between R270 and R315 — which is borderline ridic for an SUV (just try filling up your 3-litre Jeep and driving 450kms on that little money).
Jaguar is expecting to have the entire charging grid and Powerway operational by the end of November 2018. We’re not sure if they’re shipping in extra labourers, but that’s just over two months to complete an almost-countrywide network setup. It’s ambitious… and we like it. Hopefully it’ll encourage other car makers, property owners and the like to follow suit, because if South Africa’s going to join the EV revolution it’s going to need even more charging stations, and it’s going to need them fast.