• There are four electric cars in South Africa.
• Prices range from R642 000 to R3.9-million.
• The Jaguar I-Pace has the longest electric range of 470km.
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The i8 was a groundbreaking car in many regards, given that it merged electric and 'conventional' power in a contemporary package. The car, in essence, was a hybrid. A 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine (170kW/320Nm) and an electric motor (105kW/249Nm) powered it, but it had an all-electric range of around 53km. Sadly, production on the i8 ceased earlier this year, with only the i3 left as BMW's electric offering.
Keep an eye on the local market, though, because this automaker will bring several new EVs to our shores in the coming years. But alongside the i3, what other electric cars are there to choose from?
Good mix of choice
Perhaps saying that our market has a 'good mix of choice' when it comes to electric vehicles is not the best description, but given that several body types are represented we'll go with it.
Offering the entry-point to electric mobility is the Mini SE. With pricing starting at R642 000, the SE's electric battery offers 135kW and 270Nm of electric power. Mini claims a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds and a 150km/h top speed. Range-wise you can look at covering a maximum distance of 217km. Mini offers the SE with a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan and the automaker's warranty plan.
The i3 is the next most-affordable EV in South Africa. Four models make up the range, with the i3 REx topping out at R874 600. The i3 eDrive (R721 700) used to be the entry-point to EVs in South Africa and impressed with smooth acceleration and a very spacious cabin. The electric motor produces 125kW and 250Nm and can cover between 260 - 310km on electric power. The range is slightly more in the REx. Because BMW and Mini are from the same family, the i3 has the same warranty and maintenance plan as the SE.
Priced between R1 942 600 and R2 112 300, the Jaguar I-Pace is one of the most impressive electric vehicles launched in South Africa. The SUV is powered by a 90kWh battery with 294kW and 696Nm to its disposal. 0-100km/h is cleared in 4.8sec, and top speed is a solid 200km/h. The I-Pace has an electric range of 470km. The I-Pace's warranty is for five-years/100 000km on the vehicle, while the battery's warranty is eight-years/160 000km. Pretty damn decent, might we add.
The newest addition to the South African EV carpool - and also the most expensive - is the Porsche Taycan. Launched earlier this year, the Taycan lineup consists of three cars, comprising the 4S (R2 537 000), Turbo (R3 376 000), and Turbo S (R3 977 000). Power outputs for the Taycan ranges from 390kW/640Nm to 560kW/1050Nm, with the Turbo S able to leap from 0-100km/h in 2.8seconds! Top speed is rated at 260km/h.
Following the Taycan's local launch, editor Janine van der Post wrote: "The Taycan is rapid, and it's scary. Scary because it bolts from zero to 100km/h faster than you can think about what to cook for supper. It's frightening because the car is so planted on the road, at such high speeds."
Porsche offers its Taycan with a three-year or 100 000km maintenance plan, with the option to extend to five years. The warranty is valid for two-years/unlimited km.
Special mention: The Nissan Leaf was the first electric vehicle to be sold locally, however, since we're awaiting the arrival of the latest model launched in 2018, the Leaf is currently not available. Due to the pandemic, all estimated launch plans have been put on hold.