http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.10Change: -0.11
R/$ = 10.74Change: -0.08
Au 1265.29 $/ozChange: -21.89
Pt 1409.00 $/ozChange: -15.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
May 28, 2010

GridCars' electric vehicle project hopes for transport revolution

Back
Cape Town|Pretoria|Africa|Eskom|Gautrain|PROJECT|Rosebank|System|Africa|France|South Africa|USD|Gautrain|Pretoria Gautrain Station|Automotive|Car Manufacturers|Electric Car|Electricity Demand|Electricity Tap|Energy|Fickle Oil-price|Oil|Oil Price|Technology Evangelist|Transport|Gautrain|Carel Snyman|Gautrain|Infrastructure|Power|Winstone Jordaan|Joule
|Africa|Eskom|Gautrain|PROJECT|System|Africa|||Gautrain||Automotive|Energy|Transport|Gautrain|Gautrain|Infrastructure|Power||
cape-town|pretoria|africa-company|eskom|gautrain-company|project|rosebank|system|africa|france|south-africa|usd|gautrain-facility|pretoria-gautrain-station|automotive|car-manufacturers|electric-car|electricity-demand|electricity-tap|energy|fickle-oil-price|oil|oil-price|technology-evangelist|transport-industry-term|gautrain-organization|carel-snyman|gautrain|infrastructure|power|winstone-jordaan|joule
© Reuse this



Electric vehicles are not new to South Africa.

Carel Snyman, who headed up power utility Eskom’s electric vehicle programme for many years, says his team developed a prototype electric vehicle which was exhibited in France. The Kruger Park also made use of several electric-game driving vehicles, to name but a few examples.

Ironically, the reason the now short-on-juice Eskom started the programme, was that it wanted to stimulate electricity demand, especially during off-peak periods when the electricity tap was still open, but nobody used it.

Eskom terminated its electric vehicle project in 2002, as the oil price tanked to $10 a barrel, and the hype grew around hydrogen as the fuel of the future.

However, now it seems the plug, charge and drive electric car, once upon a time insinuated to have been killed by the oil companies, have won the battle as the technology to take over the immediate crown from the internal combustion engine, with several major car manufacturers pushing their mass-produced electric vehicles onto the market, starting from this year.

Again, ironically enough, the fickle oil-price was the midwife for this revolution, as it hurtled towards $200 a barrel in 2008. (Talk is rife of the black stuff again reaching this level around 2012.)

So, where does this leave South Africa?

Well, there is the Joule electric vehicle, being developed by Cape Town based Optimal Energy, and the carefully worded promises from existing car manufacturers that electric vehicles will start arriving in the country when the market is ready.

But there is also other ways to tap into the market, says Snyman.

Snyman and business partner, technology evangelist and Advanced Energy Foundation CEO Winstone Jordaan, are working to get a concept called GridCars off the ground.

With a rather cavalier disregard for styling norms and the pride and ego-extension often associated with vehicle ownership, Snyman and Jordaan want commuters to buy the use of a three-wheel electric car like they would pay for a cellphone contract: they pay only for what they use.

“If you use the car only every now and then, you pay more per kilometre, and if you use the car a lot, you pay less per kilometre,” adds Jordaan.

In practice it will mean that a business director, for example, will drive her own car to the Pretoria Gautrain station, travel by train to Sandton, where she will then pick up a small electric vehicle from a pool of similar vehicles and use it to reach all of her appointments.

She does not even have to return the vehicle to Sandton, but drive it onwards to, say, another vehicle pool in Rosebank, and leave it there to get on the Gautrain rapid-link again, back to Pretoria.

The car will not require a key, but will make use of a sophisticated identification system which will log her fingerprint, and record the mileage she accumulates, charging her accordingly.

Typically, she will buy a contract for the amount of kilometres she will log on a GridCar every month, at around R2 000 to R3 000 a month.

“The car is a three-wheeler,” says Snyman. “It is basically a one-plus-one seater, with room for a little bit of luggage.”

The design for the vehicle has already been completed by an university abroad.

Jordaan and Snyman remain mum on the identity of this tertiary institution.

“We developed the business concept,” notes Jordaan. “We looked at 60 vehicles, and finally chose this particular one – obviously we want to make a few changes.”

The vehicle the Snyman/Jordaan team is considering will weigh between 300 kg and 340 kg, battery included, and will have a top speed of 80 km/h. It will not use a steering wheel, but a ‘joystick’, also called drive-by-wire.

“We will conduct crash tests, and we will consider including airbags. We still have to homologate the vehicle. The South African Bureau of Standards currently classifies it as a motorcycle,” says Jordaan.

Homologate refers to the process of ensuring a vehicle adheres to a country’s  regulatory standards.

The aim is also for the car to be of modular design – a nice word for a Lego-type design where ‘blocks’ can be added and removed while the basic concept remains the same – which will allow for the implementation of new technology as and when it becomes available.

Lithium-ion is the flavour of the month in terms of batteries, for example, but as computers and cellphones and other bits of technology keep on reminding us, the future is not set in stone.

The car being electric means that it saves on emissions, and running costs for GridCars.

Optimal Energy intends for the Joule to be serviced only every 40 000 km, for example, as it has so much less moving parts than an internal combustion engine, which requires a peek under the hood every 15 000 km.

“But, always remember, this is about more than the car,” emphasises Snyman. “It is a completely new transport system we want to introduce.”

Jordaan says the aim is to have two prototype cars running around in South Africa by the end of the year. This will cost around R12-million to build.

The second phase of the project is build 30 cars, which will then be made available to a selected group of people by the end of next year. This will cost around R40-million.

The team is currently looking for a black economic empowerment partner to take equity in GridCars.

Following this – as well as having some other investors sign on the dotted line – the plan is to put in place all the required infrastructure.

The duo wants the cars to be build locally, in Gauteng, and is having exploratory talks with the government’s Automotive Industry Development Centre to achieve this.

Jordaan indicates that the Gauteng government has showed interest in the project, however, at this point it is still only talk.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Automotive News
Statistics released by the Department of Trade and Industry on Monday, showed that August new vehicle sales declined by 1.4%, to 55 722 units, compared with the same month last year. Assisted by the car rental market, the South African new passenger car market, at 37...
The M4 SUV
Great Wall Motors South Africa (GWM SA) has dropped the price on many of its vehicles by between R5 000 and R30 000. COO Warren Olson says this move is not linked to declining sales at the Chinese importer, but rather Super Group taking a controlling interest in the...
Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) will see its exports into Africa drop by around 20% this year over last year, owing largely to policy changes in Algeria and Nigeria. TSAM president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl says the Algerian government has shifted its support for...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 4 hours ago Despite various challenges related to the extraction of shale oil and gas, as countries grow accustomed to the idea, the use of shale as a form of energy will be more widely pursued, international oil and gas market analyst Michael Lynch said on Tuesday. Speaking at...
Updated 4 hours ago A consortium led by two Kenyan firms won a government tender to build a 1 000-MW, coal-fired power plant, company officials said on Tuesday, part of moves to satisfy rising demand for energy in East Africa's biggest economy. Kenya suffers from regular blackouts due...
TNPA CEO Tau Morwe
Updated 4 hours ago The announcement of the successful bidder for the construction of Durban’s long-awaited passenger cruise terminal was imminent, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO Tau Morwe told delegates at the African Ports Evolution Conference in Durban on Tuesday. ...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel has announced its fourth consecutive year of profits. The group's results for the financial year 2013/2014 were recently announced at its head office in Centurion, south of Pretoria. Revenues grew by 17%, net...
There is little opportunity for JSE-listed infrastructure company Group Five to grow shareholder value in the domestic market, says CEO Mike Upton. He says value can still be found in the private sector, in the renewable and industrial power sector, as well as in...
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has announced the event dates of the 2015 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). The event will take place from October 14 to October 25, 2015, at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.
UK engineering support services provider Babcock is set to deliver the largest order of global truck manufacturer DAF’s truck tractors in Southern Africa to bulk carrier road-based logistics company Ngululu Bulk Carriers (NBC), with 133 trucks to be delivered in...
Digital radio communications in the African local government space can open up the world, but have many challenges to overcome, notes integration and migration of legacy radio communications infrastructure with digital mobile radio company Emcom Wireless head of...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks