BMW Group South Africa (SA) has rolled out the first phase of public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
The alternating current (ac) charger, which is located in the heart of Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, features two parking bays designated for the exclusive use of EVs and PHEVs.
BMW Group SA MD Tim Abbott says the introduction of accessible public charging infrastructure for EVs and PHEVs is one of the key pillars of BMW’s 360˚ electro-mobility strategy.
“In order for EVs and PHEVs 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 install in the Melrose Arch precinct over the next two months. Similar projects will also be introduced in major metropolises throughout South Africa.
“Our strategy is to locate charging stations in central areas like shopping centres, where customers spend most of their time and where they can enjoy the convenience of quickly charging their cars while shopping or enjoying a meal in the surrounding restaurants.”
The ac chargers can charge an EV, like the BMW i3, to an 80% battery charge in less than two-and-a-half hours.
The new charging station infrastructure is situated on the doorstep of the Sandton Auto-managed pop-up store, which will exclusively sell BMW i vehicles.
“The [station’s] signage is simple and indicates that the designated area is an EV and PHEV charging facility, what type of charger it is and what cars can use it,” explains Abbott.
In May this year, BMW Group SA and Nissan SA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly roll out public charging infrastructure to accommodate Nissan and BMW EVs and PHEVs.
“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 for the connection of all EVs and PHEVs using the Type 2 plug charging cable.”
To activate a free charge, BMW i3 and i8 owners must swipe their ChargeNow cards as per the prompts on the ac charging station. These cards are issued, free of charge, to all customers when buying BMW i vehicles.
In addition to the new public charging infrastructure at Melrose Arch, BMW i owners can also visit BMW i dealers (BMW Sandton Auto, in Johannesburg, and Club Motors Fountains, in Pretoria,) to charge their vehicles.
The BMW i3 and BMW i8 models were introduced in South Africa in March this year.
About 150 vehicles have been delivered to local customers to date.