Clever boxing by Maxus with new EV range in SA

While more and more electric passenger vehicles are entering South Africa, it is the huge advantage in commercial applications that is getting the attention of big companies.

23 Maxus EV1

This is one of the reasons why MAXUS Electric Vehicles, part of the Blackslope Group, has just opened its first MAXUS commercial dealership exclusively for electric vehicles in Menlyn, Pretoria. MAXUS is one of the brands of the Chinese automotive giant, SAIC, the second largest OEM in China and fourth largest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world.

The range so far for South Africa includes a panel van (eDeliver 3) and cab-chassis bakkie (eDeliver 3 Cab), but also South Africa’s favourite kind of leisure/workhorse combination, the popular double cab bakkie (T90EV), although with this version the focus is on mining, private security, aviation and farming.

Pricing is R799 995 (excluding VAT) for the eDeliver 3, the eDeliver Cab will cost around R799 995 (excluding VAT) and the T90EV is priced at R1.1 million (including VAT).

Seen here are Ndia Magadagela (Co-founder, CEO), Paul Plummer (Co-founder) and Wesley van der Walt (Co-founder).

The eDeliver 3 and its cab variant both have ranges between 250 km and 300 km, while the T90EV with its larger battery pack increases the range to between 350 km and 400 km. The cab version has numerous use cases for a drop side, space saver and refrigeration units depending on the commercial need.

Everlectric, a subsidiary in the Blackslope Group, is the electric vehicle leasing company, which operates MAXUS and other OEM vehicles in commercial electric vehicle fleets.

Over the last three years, Everlectric has extensively tested MAXUS EVs in commercial fleets while creating an innovative Full Maintenance Lease (FML) option, laying the foundation to accelerate EV adoption for larger corporate clients.

Big businesses like Woolworths, FedEx and DSV have adopted electric vehicles in their fleets, not only to decrease their carbon footprint, but as a value proposition in terms of running costs. A fleet of electric vehicles for Woolworths have just completed one million kilometres in 3.5 months without a single vehicle running out of range or any mechanical problem, says Ndia Magadagela, one of the co-founders and CEO of Everlectric.

The double cab bakkie, the T90EV.
The Maxus eDeliver Cab

“We have opened a dealership where smaller businesses and individuals can buy electric vehicles in the MAXUS range. Through Everlectric, the FML option is focused on the bigger logistics, transport and courier companies. It includes a full maintenance lease solution as well as a turnkey onsite and offsite vehicle charging support to keep large fleets operating in South African conditions.

“We ensure their vehicles are fully charged and monitor them on a daily basis via telematics. As part of the leasing plan, DC chargers capable of delivering a full charge within 45 minutes are installed on clients’ premises where the fleets are located. A normal charger at home will take roughly 4.5 hours to fully charge the vehicle,” Ndia tells Dealerfloor.

“Our tests show the running costs of our MAXUS EV vehicles come to 40 cents a kilometre where a similar diesel vehicle’s cost per kilometre will be closer to R2.70. Although the initial purchasing cost of the EV is more expensive (owing to ad valorum import duties), the much lower running costs and lower maintenance costs will, depending on the kilometres done per month, recoup the price differential,” she says.

The Maxus eDeliver 3.
Inside the cabin of the Maxus commercial vehicles.

“Doing an average of say 4 000 kilometres a month, the fuel used in a normal diesel engine vehicle of a similar size would be anywhere between R10 000 and R12 000 while in the MAXUS EV it would be around R2 000 for the electricity costs.

“We also made provision for back-up power with solar and manage the charging process around load-shedding schedules just like you would manage the charging of your cell phone, laptop or other electric appliances,” Ndia answered.

Ndia says operating in the commercial space and the success so far, especially with urban logistics, allow MAXUS EVs to access more commercial vehicles for the local market like a larger panel van, 4-, 8- and 12-ton trucks in the future.

Filling up… with electricity.

She says in terms of more dealerships, they would be open for multi-franchise partnerships with other motoring groups or brands to make it a more viable option for all parties concerned.

Ndia and the two co-founders, Wesley van der Walt and Paul Plummer, do not come from the traditional automotive industry. Paul and Ndia are Charted Accountants (CAs) and the team met while working at Deloitte. Together they identified opportunities in the commercial EV space and are driving the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable transport sector in South Africa.

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