During the 2022 #ElectricCarChallenge four EVs – the Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro Advanced, BMW iX3, Jaguar I-Pace Black and Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge – were tested. “We drove the cars non-stop on a typically hot South African day at the national speed limit with the air-conditioner set at 21°C – from 100 to 10% battery charge. We obviously wanted to see what range we could achieve. But we also wanted to educate consumers about EVs,” explains Mienie.
During the event, the AutoTrader team produced a number of short, engaging and informative video clips, which unpack EVs. “There remains an air of mystery surrounding EVs,” notes Mienie. “This is perfectly understandable; most South Africans have never driven, and even less so owned one of these vehicles. So, we wanted to explain the ins and outs of EV ownership – in layman’s terms.”
One of the biggest concerns relating to EVs is, of course, price. Hence, Mienie tackles this thorny issue in one of the videos. “This is always going to be one of the biggest barriers to purchase,” explains Mienie. “So, I answered the million-dollar question buyers are always asking: Can an EV save me money? This subject isn’t as simple as one may think. Tyres, on the one hand, are more expensive – because of the weight of an EV and the sheer torque. On the other hand, the fuel savings are significant and maintenance costs are virtually zero.”
Then there are the inevitable concerns surrounding charging – and Mienie has considerable invaluable advice in this regard. “This can be effortless if motorists follow a couple of simple rules. For instance, it’s not a good idea to run the battery down too low or charge to 100% all the time; optimal levels of charge are between 20 and 80%.”
South Africa’s resident EV expert also has invaluable advice when it comes to increasing the longevity of an EV’s battery. “Lithium-ion batteries are sensitive to heat – so it’s a good idea to park an EV undercover or in the shade. Also, to avoid overheating, let the car cool down before you plug it into a charger – especially after a long trip. Around 10 minutes of cooling down time should be perfectly adequate,” Mienie advises.
He encourages consumers to go the EV route, saying they’re super easy to live with. “I realise that, for many consumers, it’s a case of venturing into the unknown. But EV ownership is effortless,” Mienie notes. And it’s not only effortless but also extremely rewarding. “There are a number of logical and practical reasons for going the EV route. But, based on my day-to-day experiences as an EV owner, I need to say that the single most important reason for investing in one is this: they’re great fun to drive. And that’s what motoring is all about, the journey,” he concludes.