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Maintaining the e-vehicle charge

Let’s debunk and address the perceived anxiety associated with charging an electric vehicle in the current South African landscape, writes SASCHA SAUER, managing director of Audi SA

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As a market, South Africa is assumed to have many adoption barriers to overcome as it prepares to embrace the next era of mobility. But the excitement and possibilities around e-mobility offer much fascination when one considers the optimistic outlook, writes Sascha Sauer, Managing Director of Audi South Africa. Let’s debunk and address the perceived anxiety associated with charging an electric vehicle in the current South African landscape.  

At Audi, we’re not only fully committed to embracing the move towards e-mobility in South Africa by bringing in a range of electric vehicles under the e-tron nameplate within the first quarter of 2022, we’re also excited about capturing imaginations and committed to changing customer perceptions towards electric vehicles in general.

The South African consumer is nothing if not resilient. Well versed in anticipating and planning ahead in the face of power supply interruptions, rescheduling commitments and adjusting plans for a last-minute scenario. This means that the prospect of electric vehicle ownership and adoption should not be tainted by the outlook of load-shedding.

A question regularly encountered around the prospect of electric vehicle ownership in South Africa is the perceived impact of the well-documented instability within our state-supplied power supply. While certainly inconvenient and, at times, frustrating, the impact of a power interruption event can be largely negated via planning and preparedness, much like managing the charging of a mobile phone.

While South Africa’s evolving public charging infrastructure already includes more than 300 universally configurable public stations – soon to be supplemented with high-speed options at ten Audi Dealerships around the country – global research suggests most electric vehicle owners have adopted a pattern of “top-up”, overnight home charging behaviour.

Every Audi e-tron purchase in South Africa will include a complimentary home visit and consultation as part of the sales process which is aimed at establishing what potential home system upgrades are recommended and technically possible, in order to best meet customer expectations and accommodate electric vehicle ownership and private charging. In some instances, this could also include supplementation via solar power.

Each Audi e-tron model confirmed to date for our market boasts a range exceeding 340 kilometres. Noting the documented average daily distance travelled by car by most South Africans as being 22.5 kilometres, it’s conceivable that a fully electric Audi e-tron would only need to be completely recharged twice per month. Potential interruptions to a home’s power supply aside, assuming the car is charging via a recommended outlet source, an owner will always wake up to a fully charged vehicle at their convenience.

Boasting one of the highest ratios of charging points to electric vehicles car park available in the developing world, including one within approximately every 200 kilometres on five major road networks, around 58% of these stations are mated with a backup power supply. In these instances, a 50 kW DC charger is capable of recharging a vehicle to 80% of battery capacity in and around two hours, even during times of scheduled load-shedding. 

Looking at these facts and figures, at Audi South Africa we feel confident that the market we serve is ready to embrace a more premium and sustainable form of mobility. As we plan to bring the Audi e-tron range of electric vehicles to South Africa, we believe that it’s also an opportune time to inspire and expose consumers to the future of motoring and all that it can offer. The future is really an attitude if you are able to embrace the transformation and look at the possibilities that the new era of e-mobility will include.

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