City of Cape Town launches first free public electric vehicle charger

The City of Cape Town recently launched its first public electric vehicle (EV) charging station, which is situated in the parking area of the Bellville Civic Centre. This is the first of two solar-powered EV charging stations that will be offered free-of-charge for the first two years to members of the public.

The charging sites were chosen because of their convenient, safe and visible locations. The chargers were donated to the City by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido). E-mobility 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.

The City is supporting the uptake of e-mobility for all and is developing initiatives to drive the growth of this technology in Cape Town so that it can become more accessible and rolled out in the future to benefit all Capetonians. The donated charging stations have been installed in the parking areas of the Bellville and Somerset West civic centres. The charging station in Somerset West will be opened to members of the public soon.

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How it works:

  • A motorist with an EV drives up to the charging station. Depending on the car, reversing into the space may provide the best access to the charger.
  • Limitless charging is offered and the car’s charge card will be required to start the charge.
  • Using their own cable, users will connect the cable to the charger and then to the car. This initiates the charge. Users can then simply lock their car and attend to other business. The system will be secure and the cable cannot be released. Unlocking the car will stop the charge and release the cable.
  • The length of the charge required will depend on the car and charge cable. But it takes roughly three hours to charge the battery from close to 0% to 80% for this particular 22kW Dual AC charger.
  • How long a charge lasts will depend on the car and driving style. A three-hour charge can last roughly 150km depending on which vehicle one uses.
  • The charging stations will be closed at night.

The city’s mayoral committee member for energy and climate change, councillor Phindile Maxiti, says: “Globally, cities have been the electric vehicle champions, supporting the uptake of charging infrastructure, driving research, education and awareness campaigns and the transition of public fleets to EVs. 

For example, this includes understanding the implications of a growing EV market, the impact of additional electricity usage on the grid and the required charging infrastructure development, such as the Bellville charging station. Thus for the City, supporting the first steps in the technology transition is incredibly important.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the devastating economic impact that global crises can have and has shown that planning for climate resilience and reducing emissions is increasingly important.

This kind of proactive response to climate change will also assist our city’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as the green economy offers new opportunities for businesses and job seekers. It also helps to ensure that the local economy can continue to trade competitively in a global world that is rapidly rejecting carbon-intensive goods and services, concludes Maxiti.”

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