Johannesburg - The move to electric cars is going to be a long and slow process, for reasons too numerous to mention in this news snippet, but the country’s charging infrastructure is growing at a steady pace thanks to efforts from the private sector.
The latest milestone on that road comes in the form of 43 new charging stations installed by Audi in partnership with Rubicon, and it includes the country’s first 200kW DC charger.
In the past two years the German carmaker has contributed 127 AC and DC charging connections to the country’s network, and the stations are also available to owners of other brands of vehicle.
The new 200kW DC charger has been installed at the Mall of Africa in Midrand, and according to Audi it can charge the battery of an e-tron GT in just 15 minutes, under ideal conditions. This is also thanks to the car’s 800-volt electrical charger. But how does it face up to load shedding? Thankfully the Mall of Africa, and certain other charging stations, has a solar-powered back-up system.
The newly installed charging stations are spread across six provinces, and in addition to the aforementioned 200kW fast charger, Audi has also invested in 17 other DC installations, including four 100kW, eight 60kW and five 25kW units. Furthermore, 25 AC chargers with a 22kW capacity have also been added to the mix.
To make life easier for all, the partnership between Audi, Rubicon and GridCars also includes a “roaming agreement” that allows billing cards to be used freely across the two charging station networks.
“EVs are the future of mobility and we’re investing not just in hardware infrastructure, but in making electric mobility simpler and more widely available for South Africans, thus enabling the local EV market to grow,” said Audi SA head Sascha Sauer.
“While load shedding is a reality to which South Africans have become accustomed, it is worth pointing out that our charging network also capitalises on solar installations, where possible, to keep the charging stations optimally operational,” Sauer added.
Audi was one of the early pioneers in the luxury electric car game in South Africa, having launched the e-tron, e-tron Sportback and e-tron GT models back in 2022. These offer claimed ranges of between 350km and 480km, depending on the model and driving conditions.
Internationally the German carmaker aims to launch its last combustion-engined vehicle in 2026, on the road to becoming a fully-electrified carmaker in most markets by 2033.