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South Africa's foremost electric mobility platform

  • Writer's pictureIan McLaren

Audi and GridCars are installing South Africa’s first ultra-fast charge stations

Audi South Africa is keen, ahead of the launch of its e-tron range, to offer prospective EV owners maximum public charging convenience.

As the momentum around electric car ownership in South Africa escalates, Audi South Africa has taken the initiative to introduce our market’s first “ultra-fast” charging facilities. Partnering with leading EV infrastructure company GridCars, the Ingolstadt brand has commissioned a total of 33 new charging stations to be placed at strategic sites around the country. Four of these stations will be able to deliver 150 kW worth of charge – via a DC connection – and be able to “fuel” an electric car from 10% to 80% (a range gain of around 340 km in an e-tron) in just half an hour.

A further five DC-powered charge stations will deliver 80 kW worth of electric “boost”, and be able to deliver around 185 km worth of range in half an hour.

“The investment and partnership with GridCars demonstrates our brand philosophy that the ‘future is an attitude’”, Sascha Sauer, Managing Director of Audi South Africa explains. “As we prepare for the arrival of our e-tron range, we understand that there is more to be done as an automotive brand than simply providing the product, we also have to enable and partner with those who can empower the transition to an electric future with ease and understanding. Our public chargers are new, and incremental to the current EV charging network in South Africa,” Sauer says.

While the exact location of each of these DC stations has yet to be finalised, we know that the thinking is around targeting strategic “refuel” points along South Africa’s major highways. As such, the only confirmed site to date is in Richmond, on the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Impressive in their workings, we do however remain sceptical that someone with the means to own a R1 million EV would choose to tackle the nevertheless arduous task of driving between these two major cities. Still, it’s important for brands to show that it is possible.

Arguably more pertinent the daily life of a potential EV owner is the confirmation that Audi and GridCars will also be adding 24 AC charging stations at “public lifestyle and recreational locations” around the country. Likely to target facilities like gyms and children’s play areas, these 22 kW units are best suited to charge times of around an hour.

Ultimately able to service EVs from any brand, these 33 additional stations (with a combined total of 70 connection points) are over-and-above the facilities currently being installed at the ten select Audi e-tron dealerships around the country.

“Established in 2009, GridCars operates and manages the most extensive network of public charging stations across the country. This exciting partnership and additional investment with Audi not only expands the network, but allows it to be upgraded with additional ultra-fast charging opportunities which is a first for our country, for all EV drivers, regardless of brand or vehicle model. The possibilities for EV adoption in South Africa are already positive and through this partnership with Audi South Africa, we are hoping to further progress the EV journey and tackle the challenges around charging, range and accessibility,” Winstone Jordaan, Managing Director at GridCars explains.

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