The two companies will roll out fast-charging stations from now until 2017 which BMW and Nissan cars can use to power up. Nissan introduced its all-electric Leaf in South Africa in 2013, while BMW launched its i3 and i8 models in March.
Considering the pollution, these two giant makers will build a national grid for electric and hybrid cars to expand sales of vehicles that could reduce pollution in Africa’s top auto market.
Consumers would charge all-electric cars such as Nissan’s Leaf by plugging into an outlet, while hybrid versions such as BMW’s i8, also has a gasoline engine. The firms said although South Africa is experiencing severe power supply shortages, their plans would not be affected.
Battery-powered cars have failed to live up to their initial hype globally, with drivers put off by the slow roll out of recharging stations, and limited range – despite generous sales incentives in some markets.
Because the batteries, cabling and cooling systems for electric cars cost more than a conventional combustion engine, electric vehicles have struggled to gain widespread acceptance among price-sensitive customers, particularly if the same model is available cheaper with a more conventional power train. Some electric cars require lengthy charging, reducing their attractiveness for customers planning to drive longer distances frequently.
BMW and Nissan said their national network of stations where vehicles can charge their batteries will also include smaller vehicle chargers using alternating current in some regions.
“In order for the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be successful in this market, we need to work together,” Tim Abbott, managing director of BMW South Africa said in a statement.