Electric car Source: Google Images

Shell SA will be launching its first electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in its retail network this year, with the number installed based on demand.

Shell spokesperson Dineo Pooe said that as the EV market grew, the company would play a key role in making their customers’ journeys better.

“This is part of our roadmap to 2025. We will start small in 2019 and ramp up as demand increases. Shell together with its strategic partners will make this investment,” she said.

GridCars, part of the JSE-listed information and communication technology products and services group Alviva Holdings, is one of several companies driving South Africa’s green e-mobility revolution and anticipates having almost 200 EV charging stations installed in the country by the end of next month.

Pooe added that there were 1 billion cars on the road and 2 million were electric but the International Energy Agency believed that by 2040 there would be 2 billion cars on the road, with 150 million of them electric.

Shell is one of several oil companies in South Africa that have started to adapt to the changing environment.

Priscillah Mabelane, the chief executive of BP Southern Africa, said the group was committed to remaining a major energy provider to vehicles in a low-carbon future, irrespective of the power train.

Mabelane said BP was developing more efficient fuels and lubricants and was actively participating in the advanced mobility space through investments in infrastructure, technology and partnerships.

“In line with this commitment, the BP Group has invested in FreeWire Technologies, a manufacturer of mobile EV charging solutions, StoreDot, a developer of ultra-fast charging battery technology, acquired Chargemaster, the UK’s leading EV charging company, and invested in NIO Capital, an investment fund looking at opportunities in China’s advanced mobility ecosystem.

“At BP Southern Africa we are watching these developments with interest and will leverage off the group experience and knowledge appropriately,” she said.

Sasol, Engen and Total declined to comment on any plans they had to cater for a growing EV market in South Africa.

Winstone Jordaan, the managing director of GridCars, confirmed that the company had held discussions with all the country’s oil companies about the installation of EV charging stations at retail fuel service stations.

Jordaan said one of the fuel companies had totally rejected their proposal, because it had bought a company that sold charge points and would roll out their own hardware.

However, Jordaan said GridCars was close to concluding deals with three fuel companies that involved rolling out EV charging points at strategic sites, mainly on the major highways.

Jordaan said that two further fuel companies were unsure about the installation of EV-charging points at their service station sites.

GridCars, in partnerships with Jaguar Land Rover SA, has already invested R30 million in 82 public EV charging stations on South Africa’s major routes to lay the foundation for the future of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the country.

However, Jordaan said apart from the EV charging stations installed for Jaguar Land Rover SA, the group had installed a further 100 charging stations for other companies and individuals, including BMW.

“There will be close to 200 installed charging stations by the end of March,” he said.

Jaguar Land Rover SA last month had forecast that South Africa could have an EV car presence of 145 000 with annual sales of new EVs hitting 43 000 units within the next six years.