- South Africa’s Zero Carbon Charge will complete its flagship solar-powered electric vehicle charging station, which began in Wolmaransstad, by June 2024.
- This news comes after Zero Carbon Charge announced in November 2023 that it intends to roll out 100% renewable energy-powered electric vehicle charging stations in South Africa.
- The November 2023 flagship is South Africa's first fully off-grid electric vehicle charging station, a national network of 120 solar-powered charging facilities spaced 150 kilometres apart.
Zero Carbon Charge intends to have the entire network of this initiative operational by September 2025.
Going off-grid means electric vehicle drivers won’t rely on South Africa's erratic power supply. Power outages have plagued the country for years, peaking in 2023.
Eskom, the state-owned electricity supplier, allows the outages to keep the grid from collapsing as demand for power increases.
Meanwhile, an off-grid electric vehicle charging station is unconnected to the power grid. It can run on several energy sources, including solar panels, generators, and battery storage systems.
Andries Malherbe and Joubert Roux founded the company, a contractor for electric vehicle charging stations in Vredendal, South Africa.
Zero Carbon Charge hopes that installing solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations will help alleviate load shedding on the Eskom grid and promote less use of coal as a primary energy source.
It claims that each Zero Carbon Charge charging station can fully charge an EV in about 20 minutes, as opposed to the 4 hours a typical on-grid station would take.
Each charging station location would have a farmstall where EV drivers could get refreshments while they waited for their cars to charge. The site would also serve as a trip break for non-EV drivers.
The charging station will run on a large solar plant with many solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that store energy in lithium iron phosphate batteries or run on hydrotreated vegetable oil generators as backup, which is said to emit about 90% less carbon than diesel fuels.
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According to a report, the company has purchased hectares in the Northern and Western Cape, with landowners receiving 5% of the revenue from a charging point. On the second page of the rollout, the company intends to tailor it, particularly for electric trucks.
This development comes as the EV landscape in South Africa keeps growing and is estimated to reach $32.5 million in revenue in 2024 and $60.8 million by 2028.
In late 2023, South Africa's Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition also mentioned that the country has plans to launch its first electric vehicle by 2026.
The Zero Carbon Charge initiative is unique to the over 350 electric vehicle charging stations in South Africa that rely on Eskom's grid. Adding to this list, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) and Tibco's Chargify in November 2023 said they would install 127 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in South Africa in early 2024.