Cape Town introduces first free EV charging station

The first free-of-charge public electric vehicle (EV) charging station was recently launched by the City of Cape Town. The charging station is situated in the parking area of the Bellville Civic Centre, with the City promising a second one in the Somerset Civic Centre to follow soon.

Cape Town electric car1

According to a statement, the free service will be offered to the public for the first two years with the sites being chosen for their convenience, safety and general visibility. The chargers were donated to the City by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), as part of the global drive towards EVs with the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles taking effect in many countries as soon as 2025.

According to Mary Haw from the Sustainable Energy Markets department at the City of Cape Town, eMobility offers an opportunity to create a healthier, more inclusive city- and one that uses a proactive climate change response to help drive the COVID-19 recovery. “Our electricity grid must be based on renewable energy and we must move to electric or alternative fuel-powered freight, bus, taxi and passenger vehicles,” Haw said.

The statement confirms the City’s support for the uptake of eMobility for all and its developing initiatives to drive the growth of this technology in Cape Town, so that it can become more accessible for the benefit of all Capetonians in the future.

Cape Town free charging station Belville Civic.
The first free charging station in Cape Town was opened at the Belville Civic Centre.

Apart from Cape Town, more cities in Africa are following suit. In Ghana, POBAD International, a technology solution firm promoting the use of Green technology across West Africa, entered into a partnership with the national power utility company, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to install EV-charging stations across Ghana.

The media in Ghana recently reported that POBAD has installed EV charging stations at the A&C Mall in East Legon as well as Stanbic Heights Mall in Accra. In the first phase of the project, POBAD will install a total of 200 chargers across Southern Ghana.

At the moment, you can buy the 64kWh electric Hyundai Kona. The Ghanaian start-up SolarTaxi is also offering the Cherry Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUV, the 32 kWh Dongfeng JunFeng ER30 SKIO EV and the 35.2 kWh JAC iEV7L. These vehicles can be leased in Ghana starting from US $160 a month.

“We thank the City of Cape Town for the opportunity of working closely together in supporting its commitment to the reduction of GHG emissions. UNIDO strongly believes that the low carbon transport initiative will contribute to decreasing vehicle exhaust emission and facilitate in the overall climate change goals,’ Blanche Ting, Energy and Low Carbon Coordinator, UNIDO said in a statement.

By deploying the charging stations in Bellville and Somerset West, UNIDO hopes to encourage a cultural change into and awareness of the mainstreaming of EVs in the City’s vehicle fleet and within the surrounding communities.

How it works

Local motorists with an EV can drive up to the charging station parking where limitless charging is offered. Motorists must bring their own cables for the connection and can then lock the car while attending to other business. The system will be secure and the cable cannot be released until the car is unlocked, which will stop the charge and release the cable.

The installed charging station uses a 22kW Dual AC charger and takes roughly three hours to charge the battery from close to 0% to 80% depending on the car. Charging stations will be closed at night.

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