Range anxiety just got bashed over the head with the general yardstick of driving from Johannesburg to Durban, now ostensibly a reality in a full EV with Jaguar’s Powerway.
And we have Jaguar to thank – ironically one of the brands in South Africa yet to have a full EV, although that will change in early 2019 with the I-PACE. While BMW and Nissan both offer charging points to their own customers at select dealerships, both have been slow to radically overhaul the EV journey. Jaguar’s far more gregarious approach will help problem solve this on a more democratised, larger scale. If you want to think of a masterclass in branding, imagine the equivalent of a Shell station but with Jaguar signage, or the subconscious machinations at work when charging your BMW i3 from a Jaguar outlet…
Working in partnership with GridCars, a total of 82 public charging points will be installed around major cities (Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein) together with renowned holiday routes. The cost of phase one is an investment of R30 million. Naturally this will extend to every Jaguar Land Rover retailer, although unlike with Nissan and BMW it’s not a free service, just a discounted one.
Jaguar’s Powerway will establish 22 charging points along the N3 between Gauteng and Durban and the N1 between Gauteng and Cape Town. Appropriately the Garden Route – already peppered with its fair share of wooshy wind turbines – will form part of the EV Powerway. Given that modern EVs have a theoretical range of 400 kilometres, or half that with the slightest sense of throttle urgency, this is now a potentially viable replacement to petrol or diesel.
And with petrol going up this month, the landscape might be tilting in EV’s and PHEV’s favour for the first time with the Powerway. As well as opening SA up to new derivatives, like Range Rover’s PHEV.
Like petrol, the price of electricity fluctuates, but for now the rate for 1kWh on the card will be between R3 and R3.50 depending where in South Africa it’s redeemed. With a 90kWh battery, a full recharge in an I-PACE will cost between R270 and R315 – with Jaguar’s 25% discount for the I-PACE (insert other EV or hybridised JLR brands still to arrive). You do need to book yourself into a cinema to enjoyably pass the next 70 minutes for a near-full charge, so overall long distance travel does, well, become longer.
Sounds like a TopGearSA challenge.