EV Africa Launches SA's Cheapest Electric Car
The world is moving towards electric mobility, with different types of vehicles that can run on batteries instead of fossil fuels. The objective is to reduce emissions and improve air quality for everyone's benefit.
But in South Africa, electric cars are still out of reach for most people, with the Mini SE being the cheapest option at a hefty R745,402.
That's where EV Africa comes in. This company, part of the CMH group, brought a new Chinese electric car line called City Blitz. They are simple and affordable, with four models: a two-seater, four-seater, Van and Pick-Up.
Priced from R200,000, we had a brief excursion with them in Pretoria, and despite their tiny nature, you require a valid South African driver's licence to drive them though many will argue it feels like driving a golf cart.
As for safety, there are no airbags or any fancy safety systems; instead, the manufacturer claims it's built with a strong monocoque cage in case of an accident. Luckily the brakes also has excellent stopping power.
The truth is that such city-sized cars with acceptable load-carrying abilities have become synonymous with urban delivery businesses in SA for day-to-day operations. These new-to-market EVs make a strong case in viability, thanks to a claimed EV range of up to 150 km and a top speed of up to 80 km/h, which is enough to keep up with suburban traffic.
The entire range is powered by a 10 kWh lithium battery pack that feeds power to a 7.5 kW AC brushless motor. Besides its inability to match other fully-electric cars currently on sale in SA, it has the advantage of using a regular wall socket to recharge the battery in four to six hours.
In terms of specifications, the list is quite attractive courtesy of a touchscreen infotainment system, electric windows, a panoramic roof, a digital instrument cluster, air conditioning, daytime running lights, 12" aluminium alloy wheels and two loudspeakers.
The Pick-Up and Van variants have a payload of 300 kg with a load bin that can accommodate a euro-sized pallet.
A short stint behind the wheel of the Van and two-seater City Blitz models showed that it garners momentum with relative ease even when laden with two passengers, and its tiny nature makes it easy to whisk through traffic.
Due to its inherently small size, the interior space is quite cramped. I experienced elbow contact with the co-passenger, while taller riders complained about their knees colliding with the dashboard.
All City Blitz models will be sold at motorcycle, boat and leisure outlets throughout the country, and EV Africa aims to have parts centres across Mzansi.
At the same time, EV Africa launched two electric scooters powered by a removable lithium battery and an electric motor with 2.1 kW of power. Called the City Buzz 1 and City Buzz 2, the electric scooters will appeal to those who run food ordering and delivery services, thanks to a cruising range of 100 km and 120 km, respectively. The top speed of the former is pegged at 60 km/h, while the latter hits the limiter at 80 km/h.
EV Africa envisions a cleaner future for courier services, security patrols, mining operations and factory transport. Its electric vehicles may be flawed, but they are practical and affordable. For those who care about the environment and their budget, EV Africa offers a chance to join the electric revolution.
Hopefully, in the coming years, we will see standard-sized electric vehicles as the brand grows to appeal to a broader customer base.
- City Blitz 2-seater: R199,900
- City Blitz 4-seater: R239,900
- City Blitz Van: R239,900
- City Blitz Pick-Up: R249,900
- City Buzz 1: R44,900
- City Buzz 2: R59,900
The City Blitz models are backed by a 4-year/60,000 km warranty.