No Daryll, Russel, Glen, Jimmy, Frank I am not referring to those risque shares….
South Africa, and Port Elizabeth especially, are being left so far behind in two manifestations of the 4th Industrial Revolution that are so close to my heart: Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles.
All through the ages cars have represented freedom – driving with the top down, your goose at your side, tunes on the eight track, sun overhead and escape from school university, work, home.
That freedom comes from confidence – confidence that your car is reliable, confidence that your car will take you far on that road less traveled.
Without confidence there’s no freedom. For Electric Vehicles that freedom comes from fast-charging everywhere en route.
In Port Elizabeth (and the traditional greater beyond) freedom and confidence will take you between NMU, Continental Cars, East Cape Motors, Bay West Mall and Jeffreys Bay – the places where public chargers are currently installed. Three of those were installed by Straton Electrical – a 60% install rate! Not too bad! See: Sharing Economy allows you to charge your Electric Vehicle in Port Elizabeth for more info.
What has the Eastern Cape or South African Government done in support of charging stations (freedom) for EV’s? Nothing!
On 20 May 2010 a company called Epyon opened the Netherland’s first fast-charge station, for electric taxis, in the northern Dutch town of Leeuwarden. Epyon eventually turned it’s focus entirely on making chargers for the automotive industry.
South Africa was too busy playing Blatterville to take much notice.
In the Netherlands on December 20 2011, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment published an article in their Government Gazette inviting parties to bid for the construction and operation of charging stations for EVs at 245 designated highway service areas.
Startup EV Charging Company, FastNed scored 201 of those sites that came up for auction.
The Netherlands occupies a land area of 42 508 km² – giving one Fastned EV charging station per 173.5 km².
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality occupies a land area of 1 959 km² – giving one EV charging station per 489 km² or two Straton Solar EV Charging stations per 979.5 km²
FastNed SELLS electricity for charging electric vehicles from Solar Powered forecourts. The cheapest rate is 0.35 Euros per kW – the equivalent of R5.53 at todays exchange rate. Our highest kW rate is R2.20 which allows for a healthy gross profit.
In South Africa no-one other than Eskom and Municipalities is allowed to make a profit on the sale of electricity – they may only recover direct expenses.
Back to FastNed and why they are so likeable. As Fastned Founder Bert Lubbers explains in his Fastned Story; “On 8 April 2013 we have an amusing meeting with ABB about the terms and conditions. As a start-up, we don’t have any purchasing terms and conditions yet, and decide for expediency’s sake to copy ABB’s – simply replacing their name with Fastned.”
“ABB is more than happy to do business with us, but object to our terms and conditions. We’d been expecting something like this, and arrange a meeting to go through the conditions, article by article. The atmosphere is rather frosty, until Michiel (FastNed co-Founder and CEO, Michiel Langezaal) and I crack up laughing. Luckily the ABB team also appreciates the irony of the situation, and we eventually agree on a reasonable contract.”
We need to concentrate on the fundamentals here:
- Incetivise early adopters of EV’s
- Make land available for EV Charging Stations
- Free up the resale of electricity to EV’s.
You can help the quiet revolution along by installing an EV Charging station outside your Guest House, Hotel, Coffee Shop, Restaurant, Shopping Centre or in your forecourt. Contact Straton Electrical for EV Charging Station options.
Tell MyPE your sentiments around Electric Vehicles: