In 2021 I got to drive both hybrid and fully electric cars. It was fantastic. The technology is revolutionary, and it is necessary in a world that won’t sustain combustion engines forever, writes Ryan O’Connor.
But…and it is a big but, South Africa’s battle to convert combustion heads to hybrid users is not just a battle with many peoples affiliation with the roar of an engine, but it is also a battle with the unfortunate fact of load shedding, which – understandably – switches people off to the possibility of electric mobiles just as quickly as it switches off the lights around the country.
There are, of course, ways in which to manage the threat of load shedding, and it would be much the same as treating your electric car in the same way you would your phone, laptop or any other device that requires use throughout the day. Charge it at night!
While there may still be power cuts during the night, it is unlikely that it would be sufficient time off to be unable to recharge the car, and another way to ensure the car stays jacked is to charge it at every opportunity rather than specific mileage or destinations.
Remember that load shedding is area based, and charging stations will also be available in grids outside of the blacked out area at the time. According to techfinancials.co.za, GridCars (the company providing charging stations for EVs across the country), have around 60% of their DC fast chargers backed by a 24/7 emergency generator.
Of course, while these options offer comfort that load shedding is not the end of being able to own an electric vehicle in SA, the reality is that EVs require an element of planning that petrol and diesel just don’t, and it makes it incredibly hard to convert already combustion-loyal customers to the cars of the future.
Personally, I would encourage those that are intent on making a change and buying either a Hybrid or Electric vehicle to stay true to that intent and realise that while load shedding may prove a frustration and require of an owner a little more planning, it is not an insurmountable obstacle in the way of cutting down your carbon footprint.