South Africans haven’t had much choice when it comes to electric vehicles — and the choices we do have are near unaffordable for most. BMW’s i3 is a brilliant, compact EV that is built for zipping around the city, but it also costs upwards of R750,000. Meet the tiny Eleksa CityBug EV priced at R200,000.
Resembling something straight out of a Tron x Toy Story mashup movie, the CityBug measures in at just under 3m in length. It sports two doors, but you get four seats out of the deal.
CityBug’s crawling into SA
While MyBroadBand didn’t gain any details on the engine size from the dealership in Pretoria, we know that it’s got a 100km range that can be boosted to 200km for an additional fee, of course. Even more, the tiny car’s top speed is a mere 60km/h, which isn’t ideal, especially for an electric powertrain that generally provides ample power and speed (just ask the BMW i8).
According to the report, CityBug’s performance will depend on a few factors including the driver’s style, ‘use of certain features’ and how heavy the load is. This may indicate that you’ll lose some power when using added features like the pre-instaled aircon or GPS functions.
But, going fast’s not the point in the CityBug, according to them, “… the CityBug has an extremely low running cost, with a charging cost of 15c per kilometre, which works out to R15.00 for a full charge on the 100km model.
Sure, you’ll save on petrol and running costs, but you’ll have to do three trips when you go to the mall to pick up your new office chair. And it’ll take you three hours without traffic.
Who, exactly, is Eleksa?
While the brand is relatively unknown, MyBroadBand did a reverse image search of the car and found a Chinese model called the Shandong Gaia G-EEC. Which is likely where these are manufactured. Its very small size and construction indicate that it was built for large cities with small roads.
“According to the specifications on its product page, that model’s AC motor has a rated power of 4kW,” the reporter found. But it exists under the brand elsewhere, with the report detailing “Eleksa stated that the CityBug is also available in the UK, Germany, Spain, and Uruguay.”
The dealership will start selling the CityBugs after it gets roadworthy approval for the vehicles, and that should be around September of this year.