German car maker BMW says it will introduce solar power charging stations in South Africa by way of a pilot programme before the end of the year.
Tim Abbott, BMW South Africa MD, told IOL that at least four pilot solar ports would be constructed for customers with electric vehicles in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.
He said that the company would probably partner with the likes of major banks or supermarkets going forward.
According to BMW, since launching the BMW i3 and BMW i8 in South Africa in March 2015, it has delivered 248 of these vehicles to customers.
In terms of public charging infrastructure, the company said that it has a charger in Melrose Arch and will be rolling out more in 2016 in some of the major metropolitan areas throughout South Africa.
To activate a free charge, BMW i3 and i8 owners need to swipe their ChargeNow cards as per the prompts on the AC charging station.
The ChargeNow cards are issued to all BMW i customers upon the purchase of BMW i vehicles.
In addition to the new public charging infrastructure at Melrose Arch, BMW i owners can also visit exclusive BMW i dealers – BMW Sandton Auto in Johannesburg; Club Motors Fountains in Pretoria; SMG Cape Town; and Supertech Durban – to charge their vehicles, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
“We are also rolling out more charging stations in some of our BMW dealerships,” said Edward Makwana, manager: Group Product Communications at BMW.
The BMW i3 starts at R540,500 in South Africa, with an i3 REX priced at R611,500. An i8 costs R1.8 million.
The solar carport will look similar to the ones shown below:
In 2014, BMW partnered with Schneider Electric to help with the installation of a wallbox charging point in customers’ homes.