So it's 2022, we were promised hoverboards in Back to the Future in 2015 already. Instead we have soaring fule prices, global heat waves and in SA, we're lucky to have a full day of electricity. So are we ready to transition to EVs in SA yet?
So far this year, a number of manufacturers have brought EV's to the market. I haven't driven all of them, but I've driven some of them, so let's chat about those first.
At the bottom, (not bad) just cheapest and smallest is the MINI-E with a range of about 160km if you drive carefully. It really does't lend itself to wanting to be driven carefully though.
Just above that, and not to be sold in SA, is the eGolf. I spent 2 weeks with it and it's pretty much a Golf 7.5 where they've ripped out the gas guzzler and dropped in some batteries. Driven carefully, this will get you about 220km on a full charge.
Then the e-trons. They come in two shapes, an SUV varient, and the GT varient. The regular e-tron (SUV) sits somewhere between a Q5 and Q8 in size. The e-tron GT is about the size of an A7, and it's absolutely stunning to look at. These get better range, in the 350Km mark, but pricing can be eyewatering (RS e-tron GT will set you back nearly the price of an R8).
Then BMW have a bunch that they've launched (I haven't driven any of them, hint hint BMW), but from what I've seen they're on a par with the e-trons.
The cost of running these EVs is actually better than using any kind of fossil fuel. Let's cover some of the Maths.
An e-tron will use about 30kWh/100Km. So lets assume you charge at home you'r paying about R2,50 per kWh, so it's costing you R75 for every 100kms you drive.
If you had to charge at a commercial charger, you'll pay closer to R5,88 per kWh, so 100kms of driving will cost you R176.
In contrast to a fuel car, lets say an Audi A7 (similar in size, luxury etc) which would use 10l/100km, at R26p/l would cost you R260 for 100Kms of driving.
The day to day running cost is more efficient, the problem is still the purchase price. Any e-tron would be 2X or more the price of an equivilent fuel car. But let's say you decide to commit and you buy yourself a new fancy EV...
Charging these cars is problematic, but managable. If you owned an EV, you would for your own sanity, have to have a charger at home. The smaller EVs with less range are able to fully charge over night at home, the larger Audi's and BMW's not so much.
That leaves you having to use commercial chargers on a regular basis. There aren't a lot of fast chargers, and the places that have them, only have 1, so if you arrive to charge and find another car already on charge, you have to wait for their charge to finish before you can start charging your car.
This isn't the end of the world, some planning makes it workable. But you always run the risk of finding yourself in a situation where you have to spend a few hours waiting for your car to charge, not ideal for anyone with a tight schedule.
The cost issues can be addressed, if the government stopped taxing the hell out of EVs, this would encourgae more manufacturers to bring in their EVs which would expand the charging network, and so on and so on.
So are we ready for EVs? Almost. We're ready for early adopters with cash to spend on them, but we're not at the mass adoption phase yet, not even close.