Zero Carbon Charge is aiming to make electric cars more viable for South Africans by dotting the landscape with solar powered charging stations spaced at 150km intervals.
The team broke ground on its first 100% renewable energy charging station at a ceremony in Wolmaransstad in the North West province on Tuesday. Their goal is to build 120 facilities throughout the country.
The commencement of this project is a significant milestone in South Africa’s transition to electric vehicles, Zero Carbon Charge says.
“We are thrilled to begin construction of the first 100% renewable energy charging facility in Wolmaransstad today,” said Co-Founder and Director Joubert Roux.
“It is great news for the environment, and it is great news for motorists who won’t have to worry about loadshedding preventing them from charging their vehicles.”
Zero Carbon Charge’s other Co-Founder and Director Andries Malherbe says the company expects electric cars to account for 25% of new vehicle sales within five years from now, ambitious as that might sound.
The firm plans to erect 720 DC ultra-fast charging points as well as 240 AC charge points for plug-in hybrids, and claims that this equipment will charge cars in around 20 minutes.
The solar energy captured at the charging sites will be stored in lithium iron phosphate batteries, and there will be back-up generators powered by hydrotreated vegetable oil, which is seen as 90% cleaner than diesel in terms of carbon emissions.
Zero Carbon Charge is aiming to have its full network of charging facilities in action by late 2025.
The company says each station will also have a farmstall, so that owners can enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack while they’re waiting for their car to charge.
“This is a great opportunity for rural landowners to become part of the energy value chain for EVs, to benefit from surplus energy generated and derive an additional income stream,” said Jan Holiday, the owner of the land upon which the first site is being built.
Zero Carbon Charge said land owners would earn 5% of the revenue generated from vehicle-charging on their land, and a further percentage of the revenue will be directed towards local socio-economic development initiatives.