JAC Motors South Africa’s first electric truck starts operations 

16th July 2021 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

JAC Motors South Africa’s first electric truck starts operations 

The N55 EV

The first electric truck from Chinese auto maker JAC Motors has started operations in South Africa.

This arrival of the electric N-series truck marks the start of JAC Motors South Africa's (JMSA’s) local electric vehicle (EV) programme, says public relations manager Braam Faul.

The newcomer to the local product range, the N55 EV, “isn't a test model – it is a thoroughly tested EV from our international stable, already running in many fleets overseas”, he adds.

JAC Motors has been manufacturing battery-electric trucks in China since 2014.

Today, the company’s electric truck platforms range from 2.5 t to 12 t, offering various weight and wheelbase options.

The new N55 EV was first launched in China in 2019.

The local introduction of the N55 EV is helping JAC Motors to develop new markets and explore solutions for maximising the energy efficiency and the driving ranges of its EVs, says Faul.

"We are extremely excited about this ground-breaking event for the JAC Motors brand in South Africa," notes JMSA CEO Karl-Heinz Göbel.

"The new N55 EV is an emission-free truck suitable for a range of city operations. It provides a reliable, economical and safe solution to transport operators.”

The first N55 EV unit in South Africa is being deployed by Aeversa, which aims to assist traditional transport fleets in transitioning to electric fleets, using renewable energy, explains CEO Rick Franz.

The company’s core business comprises the design, engineering, implementation, and infrastructure supply to commercial and industrial customers to effectively roll out EV fleet programmes.

“The N55 EV will assist us with the planning, prototyping and rolling out of precision infrastructure for the conversion to DC fast-charging commercial fleets,” says Franz.

Aeversa has been testing the flat-deck truck since June.

Franz has been active in the logistics industry for around ten years, through his other company Palletmen, which specialises in the pallet trade.

The N55 EV
The N55 EV is powered by a liquid-cooled 96.77 kWh capacity lithium-iron phosphate battery. 

When standard European CCS2-combo connections are used, the battery recharges to 80% capacity in 1.5 hours and 100% in two hours, says JAC Motors.

“In addition, the N55 EV was subject to extensive fire- and waterproof testing to ensure the vehicle remains safe under extreme conditions.”

The N55 EV can drive 200 km on a single charge and can scale up to 16.7o with a load of 2.5 t. 

The truck, employing an automatic transmission, accelerates from zero to 50 km/h in eight seconds and achieves a top speed of 90 km/h. 

Compared with conventional diesel engine trucks, the N55 EV achieves a 50% lower fuel/energy cost and a 30% lower maintenance cost, reports JAC Motors.

The N55's cab is 1 995 mm wide and provides space for three occupants and their gear. 

It also features a height- and telescopic adjustable multifunction steering wheel, air-conditioning, antilock braking and electric windows.

The N55 EV also has a pedestrian warning system, as well as an 8-inch touchscreen display which includes Bluetooth, navigation and online music.

"The N55 EV is our first environmentally friendly EV tested in real-world conditions on South African roads,” says Göbel.

“We are evaluating the suitability of EVs for the African market and trialling technologies that could help maximise the driving range of future electrified vehicles. 

“As a result, we soon could see more of our EVs on the local roads, paving the way for a greener motoring landscape.”

Göbel says the company is taking orders for the new N55 EV, which is sold and serviced countrywide as part of JAC Motors N-series range of trucks.

The starting price for the N55 EV chassis cab is R834 900 (excluding VAT), and including a three-year/100 000 km warranty. 

JMSA is also investigating the possibility of bringing an electric T8 double-cab bakkie to South Africa.