Midrand. BMW Group South Africa has installed the first phase of public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.
The alternating current (AC) charger, which is located in the heart of the bustling shopping precinct (on Whitley Road opposite the Protea Fire and Ice Hotel), features two parking bays designated for the exclusive use of EVs and PHEVs.
Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW Group South Africa, says the introduction of accessible public charging infrastructure for EVs and PHEVs is one of the key pillars of the BMW Group’s 360 degree electro mobility strategy. “In order for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be successful, we need to firstly increase consumer confidence in the viability of electric vehicles and secondly make public charging easily accessible for customers who purchase these cars. This public charging station is the first of three that we will be installing in the Melrose Arch precinct over the next two months. Similar projects will also be introduced in the future in major metropolis throughout South Africa.”
Abbott adds that Melrose Arch is the ideal location for the charging station as it is centrally located in a burgeoning and bustling precinct. “Our strategy is to locate charging stations in central areas like shopping centers where customers spend most of their time and can enjoy the convenience of quickly charging their cars while they are shopping or enjoying a meal in the surrounding restaurants,” he explains.
AC chargers can charge an EV like the BMW i3 to 80% battery charge in under two and a half hours. The new charging station infrastructure is conveniently situated on the doorstep of the Sandton Auto managed pop up store, which will exclusively sell BMW i’s.
The newly erected charging station features two parking bays clearly designated with signage that will be featured at all future BMW public charging stations. “The signage is simple and clearly indicates firstly that the designated area is an electric vehicle and plug-in electrical vehicle charging facility, the type of charger it is and what cars can use it.”
In May this year, BMW South Africa and Nissan South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly roll out public charging infrastructure to accommodate both Nissan and BMW EV’s as well as PHEV’s. “This particular project is not part of the MoU programme, but all the AC charging stations introduced to the Melrose Arch precinct chargers are equipped with Type 2 sockets that allow the connection of all EVs and PHEVs with the Type 2 plug charging cable”
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. ChargeNow cards are issued to all BMW i customers upon the purchase of BMW i vehicles, free of charge.
The BMW i3 and BMW i8 were introduced in South Africa in March this year. With just six months on the market, 150 units of these models have been delivered to local customers. Both models have received global recognition for their innovative technology and low carbon emissions. In 2014, the BMW i3 was named the Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal, and the BMW i8 in turn was named the 2015 World Green Car of the Year.