BMW South Africa To Launch Pilot Solar Charging Stations For Electric Cars

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Global car manufacturer BMW plans to launch a pilot project in south Africa to test the use of solar powered station for charging electric cars.

The first four solar charging points will be set up across the country; two in Gauteng and one each in Cape Town and Durban, by the end of this year, BMW South Africa managing director, Tim Abbott, said.

“My firm belief is that solar power in South Africa is the way to go. If you look at the sunshine it’s got to be more than almost any other country in the world and an area we should be exploring,” Abbott was quoted by BMW Blog saying.

The motor company, one of only two, with Nissan, to sell electric cars in South Africa, is looking for large corporate partners for the pilot scheme.

Electric cars are still a rarity in Africa because there is still no proper infrastructure anywhere else apart from South Africa that can support this technological change.

Abbott also said that governments need to play their part to support the use of electric cars in Africa by providing tax incentives and encourage corporate to make available recharging stations.

According to a BDlive report South Africa still charges more import duty on electric cars than on large petrol-guzzling 4x4s. In fact, they are classified in the same high-duty bracket as golf carts.

Currently car manufacturers who are importing electric cars into the South Africa pay a 25 percent tax levy compared to big gas guzzling cars that are taxed 18 percent.

“I’ve only been in South Africa for a short period of time, but it’s the one thing that has surprised me more than anything else except the taxes [on electric vehicles] all along the way,” Abbott was quoted saying by Business Report on the on the sidelines of the German automaker’s centenary celebrations in Munich this week.

Abbott said BMW and Nissan SA MD Mike Whitfield had lobbied government to approve tax incentives for electric car manufacturers, and while government officials, including Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, have indicated their support for electric cars on principal, the support has not translated into action.