- A host of new premium electric cars officially arrive in South Africa in 2022.
- These three electric vehicles seem compelling as replacements for petrol or diesel vehicles.
- If you are travelling less due to remote and hybrid work, an EV might be ideal.
- For motoring news, go to Wheels24
The ongoing rise of the fuel price in South Africa has led to several conversations with friends, family, and readers and social media followers in recent weeks regarding a shift to electric vehicles. I spoke to a few people driving premium vehicles from Audi, BMW and Volvo. We chatted about their mobility requirements now that we live in this new world of remote and hybrid work environments.
Most of them said they are filling up once or twice a month instead of three or four times a month, as they have been driving much less over the past 18 months since lockdown began. Nevertheless, two topped-up fuel tanks in a premium vehicle with an average 60-litre capacity will cost you more than R1200 per fill-up, depending on which part of the country you're situated.
Would you consider switching from a petrol or diesel vehicle to an electric vehicle, if a wider range of more affordable electric cars were sold in South Africa? Let us know in the comments section or please send us an email here.
Fuel now a grudge purchase
I'll admit that filling up a car with petrol or diesel is hardly a highlight of any motoring experience (we'd instead be driving, right?). These days, however, filling up with fuel feels worse, more like a grudge purchase when you take a look at the petrol or diesel pump after that "first-click".
Fortunately, filling up with electricity doesn't feel so terrible. I lived with a Volkswagen Golf 7 e-Golf from Volkswagen South Africa press for a month, and to keep that car's battery topped up at home (38kWh battery pack) during the test period, it cost around R80 per charge. I'd get about 170km on average daily driving it per charge.
When the conversation turned to electric cars again, I thought about the e-Golf. We won't be able to buy that fantastic electric Golf in SA, but now might be an ideal time to highlight three premium EVs going on sale in SA in 2022 that might be perfect for you if you would like to leave the world of petrol and diesel behind.
1. Audi e-tron GT
The Audi e-tron GT has been brewing for almost a decade. Audi initially entertained electrifying the R8 sports car, with several concept versions created, including samples driven by Tony Stark in the Marvel Avengers film series. Audi officially launched the e-tron GT in Europe last year, and it's finally landed in South Africa with an official local launch scheduled for early 2022. Wheels24 had an opportunity to assess the SUV version of the e-tron, which you can read here.
We're looking forward to the e-tron GT as we think it's the ideal replacement vehicle for you if you're used to driving powerful V8 and V12 sports coupes. The e-tron GT shares its gizzards with the Porsche Taycan, using the same J1 electrified platform and battery technologies.
Boasting 84kWh of net battery capacity (93.4kWh of gross capacity) and two electric motors to deliver quattro all-wheel-drive, the e-tron can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 245km/h. Audi says it delivers a maximum sustained power output of 350kW, temporarily boosting it to 390kW in launch control situations.
The sportier RS version accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 250km/h. The RS version delivers 440kW of power that jumps to 475kW when overboost is required.
The e-tron GT promises to deliver extreme speed, luxury, and the latest electrification technologies, including fast charge times and over-the-air updates. The base model comes in for R2 715 000, and it promises to deliver up to 488km of driving range from its battery pack between recharges. Yes, the car is expensive, but it's packing extreme performance, loads of luxury, and it comes with a five-year or 100 000km Freeway Plan maintenance contract.
2. BMW iX
We were going to assess the all-new BMW iX all-electric crossover vehicle in South Africa this month. However, the local launch has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic entering its fourth wave.
Launched earlier this year to a warm reception in Europe, the all-new iX is BMW's first family size car that does away with a high-performance internal combustion engine. It's also one of the first EVs to come to South Africa that offers a driving range of more than 600 kilometres on a single charge.
The BMW iX xDrive40 battery boasts a net capacity of 71kWh (76.6kWh gross). It can DC (direct-current) fast-charge at up to 150kW, charging from 10% to 80% in about 31 minutes. We don't have many of these high-output chargers in South Africa yet. The xDrive40 comes with dual electric motors (one on each axle) and produce a combined 240kW and 630Nm of torque. Its 0-100 km/h sprint time is 6.1 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 200km/h.
South Africans who love driving long distances, and those with particular range anxiety, will love the xDrive50 version of the iX. Here, the battery pack boasts a net capacity of 105kWh (111.5 kWh gross). It can DC fast-charge at up to 200kW, charging from 10% to 80% in 35 minutes or less. BMW says an 11kW AC home charger will be able to fully charge this model's battery from empty in around 11 hours. Performance fundis will also love this version's punch as it comes with 390kW of power and 765Nm of torque, which should see it rocket from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds.
Surprisingly, while it's still an expensive vehicle, the iX is rather competitively priced when looking at the EV market in SA in general. The 40 version with a range of 425km is already listed on BMW's website for R1 650 000, and the 50 version with a range of up to 630km is listed for R2 175 000. All models come with BMW's five-year Motorplan maintenance contract.
3. Volvo XC40 Recharge
Volvo has been teasing South Africans with the prospect of owning an all-electric SUV for a little over R1 million rand for quite some time, but the vehicle should arrive in local showrooms from the first quarter of 2022 as stock supply issues are put to rest.
The XC40 Recharge will sell alongside the existing range of XC40 models, and it will lead Volvo's proverbial charge to become an all-electric manufacturer within the next decade. Volvo has already confirmed that all its vehicles will start to arrive with some hybrid fuel-saving technology from 2022, and those full-electric models will come as they are launched - kicking off with the XC40 in 2022. As the XC40 is a traditional SUV, it's not as quirky to look at as the Audi e-tron or BMW iX, but that's perfect for people who want to blend in rather than stand out.
According to the manufacturer, the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and offers a driving range of more than 400km on a single charge. They say its battery can charge to 80% of its capacity in 40 minutes on a 50kW DC charger.
There are plenty of these chargers around the country, thanks to Jaguar and BMW and the likes of Grid Cars. The battery pack is placed within the car's floor, and it is encased in an aluminium safety cage that creates the crumple zone around the battery. With up to 300kW on taps, it's the fastest-accelerating Volvo road car you can buy.
The XC40 Recharge contains an infotainment system Volvo created in collaboration with Google. The native system of Android includes apps like Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store. The system can be fully voice-controlled and receive continuous real-time software and operating system updates. Audi and Jaguar have already used over-the-air updates to give their e-tron and I-Pace customers additional driving range thanks to refining their vehicles' algorithms. Volvo could offer the same thanks to its always-on Google tech.
You can already order the Volvo XC40 Recharge if you visit the My Volvo store here. You can also express interest in the Audi e-tron here or order your brand new BMW iX here. If you're in the market for a premium vehicle, you must give an EV a test drive and see if it can work with your lifestyle as it's the future of motoring. If you'd like to stay on top of EV news in South Africa, be sure to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter.
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