Ultra-fast 100% renewable energy powered electric vehicle charging stations planned for SA's non-urban national & regional roads

Motor vehicle owners and enthusiasts following the dialogue around the global transition to low carbon transport will have noted the shift in the conversation edging ever closer to home, as pressure mounts for definitive policy regarding Electric Vehicles (EVs) in South Africa.

Whilst many commentators and industry role-players are pushing for the country’s local automotive industry to start manufacturing EVs, others are concerned about the wider adoption of EVs in South Africa as a consequence of uncertainties around the reliability of electricity supply due to loadshedding and range anxiety regarding the availability of charging infrastructure especially in non-urban areas.

One company that is very optimistic about the way forward for EVs is local business Zero Carbon Charge.

Andries Malherbe and Joubert Roux, co-founders of Zero Carbon Charge, aims to fast track South Africa (SA) to a low carbon economy by electrifying the transport sector with renewable energy. They plan to roll out a national network of ultra-fast EV chargers at 150 km intervals on all strategic routes across all 9 provinces in South Africa. The innovative business model of this local company is aimed at serving the future EV charging needs of the largely underserved sub-segment of travel outside of urban areas.

Their ultra-fast charging stations will be totally off-grid and 100% green and thus completely reliable. Their planned 1st phase of the project will comprise 120 stations for charging of passenger and commercial vehicles and small trucks.

“We are excited to offer a solution that addresses both loadshedding challenges as well as range anxiety for drivers outside of urban areas,” says Joubert Roux, Director of Operations at Zero Carbon Charge. 

“External pressures such as the EU banning the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035, as well as South Africa being a signatory to the Paris Agreement with ambitions to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2050, are all reasons why an increased adoption of EVs can be expected and we need to be ready,” adds Roux.

South Africa is an intrinsic part of the integrated global supply chain and based on import source locations, inevitably the South African market will switch to EVs along with the transition within the markets of its major suppliers.

With regard to charging infrastructure the readiness to serve the market is much further ahead than what many perceive. Zero Carbon Charge has already entered into agreements with 91 landowners to have 100% grid independent charging stations developed on their land. Plans are forging ahead to break ground on the first site - Dassiesfontein on the N2 before the end of the year.

All sites will include three components: 

  • A farm stall, parking area and restroom facilities
  • Multiple vehicle charging station area
  • A Solar photovoltaic system

The remaining sites are in the public participation phase with Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and other related applications currently underway. With the support of relevant departments expediting approvals swiftly, the company has an ambitious vision to have the full network planned for phase 1 up and running by Q1 2025.

“There are so many positives for SA with this low carbon transport transition. There are confirmed direct and indirect jobs that will be created during and post construction, it provides a boost for the green economy and ultimately aligns with SA’s Green Transport Strategy goals,” concludes Roux.

All of SA’s 9 provinces have ratified the Green Transport Strategy and Zero Carbon Charge is committed to ensuring that the decarbonising of the South African transport industry will not be stifled by a lack of infrastructure or the need for traditional energy supply.

For more information about opportunities for investors, landowners and current farm stall owners visit www.charge.co.za.