Private sector makes first move to build electric vehicle infrastructure in SA
JSE-listed information and communication technology (ICT) group, Alviva Holdings, has, through its subsidiary Solareff, acquired 75% of GridCars, a Pretoria-based startup that focuses on the manufacture of electric vehicle (EV) charge points and back office charge point management systems.
Real-time interactive eMobility software, for example, allows users to find available charge points and to manage the rates and billing for energy consumed. EV users can also monitor charging sessions, possible costs and charge history.
“These all form part of the back-office services we provide,” notes Jordaan.
“We understand the core technologies and platforms necessary to make an EV network operate efficiently.
“Our aim is to give GridCars the critical mass to scale up quickly,” notes Botha.
GridCars will, under the wing of Solareff, look at rolling out EV charging infrastructure across South Africa – at a pace relative to the introduction of EVs to the local market – with the option of solar power as the energy source whenever possible and desirable, he says.
Jordaan says the investment will, for example, allow GridCars to carry greater stock, ensuring availability of charge points on a short turnaround time.
“We will also be seeking incentives from government as we roll out the network.”
There are currently around 100 EV charging points in South Africa, largely at dealerships, the homes of EV owners and selected retail developments. (See evcharging.co.za) Almost all of these are managed by GridCars.
“There are currently around 2 500 plug-in vehicles in South Africa, of which 600 are EVs,” says Jordaan.
GridCars has locally developed AC charging systemsavailable. The current DC system on offer is imported, but Jordaan is pursuing a partnership agreement that could secure 50% local content on the system.
“Our system also adheres to all the necessary ISO-standards.”