Driving electric vs petrol cars in South Africa

A new study claims that drivers in South Africa can save ‘significant sums’ by choosing an electric vehicle (EV).

Research conducted by the uYilo e-Mobility Technology Innovation Programme at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, found that running an all-electric Nissan LEAF for a year costs R18,000 less than a petrol car, based on the average South African annual mileage of 30,000 kilometres.

uYilo’s research is supported by the Government, Eskom and car makers, and was provided with a fleet of Nissan Leafs to use for the study.

A car with a fuel economy of approximately 6 – 8 litres per 100 kilometres at current prices of R12.40 for 95 ULP, translates to the following annual cost:

  • 6 ℓ/100 km costs R74.4 = R22,320 annually
  • 8 ℓ/100 km costs R99.2 =  R29,760 annually

For an electric car, it would cost approximately R4,620 to charge over the course of a year.

Regarding the cost of charging a Nissan Leaf, if the vehicle is completely flat, it takes 24 kilowatts to charge – which will cost just over R30, Nissan said.

The car has a maximum drive of 195 km per charge.

The Nissan Leaf however, comes with a starting price of R499,800, while a medium equivalent petrol sedan, like a Ford Focus starts from R219,000.

Most Leaf owners charge their car at home. A full charge takes 12 hours on a standard domestic plug, however, Nissan has rapid chargers, installed at its Leaf Dealerships, which provide an 80% charge in just 30 minutes.

To date 80 units of the Nissan LEAF have been sold into the local market since 2013.

Nissan said it is working on solidifying an EV charging infrastructure in the country and has set out to increase capacity in the next 12 months.

There will be 30 charging stations in Gauteng, 12 in KwaZulu-Natal, 10 in Port Elizabeth, 15 in Cape Town, 10 in Mpumalanga, 10 in Limpopo and five in central South Africa.

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