This event – the only one of its kind in South Africa – took place in Q3 of 2022 and was designed to establish the capability of EVs to travel distance on a single charge, on a typically hot South African day with the air conditioner turned on, and without using regenerative braking. It builds on from the first national benchmark event for electric mobility in South Africa, held in 2021.
“During our very first #ElectricCarChallenge in 2021, we took three EVs – BMW i3S e-drive the Jaguar I-Pace, and MINI Cooper SE – and drove them on public roads between Johannesburg and Pretoria and also around the Gerotek oval. The event was a massive success – because it produced highly credible data. Based on this success, we held our second annual SA #ElectricCarChallenge which included one day at Gerotek. As was the case in 2021, we aimed to answer the all-important question posed by EV owners: how far can my EV car go?” explains AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie.
The event took place at a time when interest in EVs is at an all-time high in South Africa. According to the 2022 Electric Vehicle Buyers Survey, searches for available EVs have increased by 102% year-on-year (2022 vs 2021), which demonstrates the growing popularity of EVs. Views of EV Adverts (Consumer Advert Views or CAVs) for EVs are up by 134% (clearly outpacing CAVs for cars with internal combustion engines, reporting a 25% increase, albeit from a smaller base). More importantly, enquiries for EVs are up by 74%, pointing to a larger audience of in-market car shoppers likely to buy an EV in the near future.
In 2022, four EVs were driven during the battery challenge namely the Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro Advanced, BMW iX3, Jaguar I-Pace Black and Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge. The EVs were driven by CEO of AutoTrader George Mienie, AutoTrader motoring journalist Chad Lückhoff, motoring journalist Richard Nwamba, and technology and EV journalist Nafisa Akabor.
The team wanted to showcase just how smart EVs are when it comes to alerting drivers to their remaining charge and distance. Furthermore, they wanted to explain how adjusting one’s driving style can extend range, extracting the most distance from the battery.
So, how did the EVs fare?
The 2022 Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro Advanced – in the hands of Chad Lückhoff – completed 307 km. The 2022 BMW iX3 – piloted by Richard Nwamba – completed 302 km. George Mienie was behind the wheel of the 2022 Jaguar I-Pace Black and achieved 294 km. Finally, The 2022 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge – driven by Nafisa Akabor – achieved a range of 272 km.
These independent and highly credible results will now set a national benchmark for each variant. They also represent a historical reference point upon which to look back and evaluate battery performance advancements year-on-year. Most importantly, this test is relevant to South Africans, and not based on cooler European testing scenarios.