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Jozi suburb to get charging points

291 16.04.2015 Councillor Tim Truluch cycling on his electric bicycle at Marks Park sports grounds in Emarentia. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

291 16.04.2015 Councillor Tim Truluch cycling on his electric bicycle at Marks Park sports grounds in Emarentia. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Published Apr 22, 2015

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Johannesburg - Parkhurst is soon to become the first Johannesburg suburb to have charging points for electric cars and electric bicycles. They will be situated on Fourth Avenue.

The suburb is taking mobility greening initiatives seriously and also plans to establish cycle depots where residents can hire electric bicycles, drop them off at their destinations, and then collect another to return home.

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Nissan South Africa has come on board and earlier this month held an event for residents to test-drive its 100 percent-electric Nissan Leaf in Verity Park.

This activity was in celebration of the Parkhurst village’s Go-Green renewable energy initiatives, and it introduced the community to the new electric cars.

The Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners’ Association started the Go-Green initiative to stimulate renewable energy usage in the village.

Association chairwoman Cheryl Labuschagne said: “As part of our Go-Green campaign we are planning a number of solar-powered, electric-vehicle charging points in the village. We want to encourage people to seriously look at electric cars and bicycles as an alternative means of transport. Most cars and bikes come with solar chargers, so load shedding will not be an issue.”

PROPER PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The association is working closely with the City of Johannesburg, which is fully behind the plans, she said. Certain legal requirements for the charging stations have to be complied with, but these should be sorted out within a few weeks.

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“We are also engaging with the city to bring proper public transport into the area. We currently have no bus service, but even when we had it, it stopped at 6pm.

“We have to become a 24-hour city. We also have to ensure we have proper pedestrian lanes for people to walk on if they use public transport,” she said.

Labuschagne said the main problem was changing people’s mindsets. “People are hesitant about electric cars and bicycles, but although the initial costs can be high, this will be offset by fuel savings,” she said.

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Ward councillor Tim Truluck has been testing electric bicycles for over six months, and says he loves it. In about five months he notched up 1200km.

“I ride everywhere,” he said. “I attend council and council-related meetings on my bike. I have seen, and experienced, the city in a whole new way. It has changed my life.”

The bikes are also good to help people keep fit.

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“Even with electric bikes you still have to do a certain amount of pedalling. Also, Parkhurst is quite hilly, so the electric bikes are great. It is not nice to arrive at meetings in a sweat,” Truluck added.

He said the city was installing 25km of cycle routes between Rosebank, Sandton, Parkhurst, Greenside, Victory Park and Melrose.

The Star

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