The EV scene in Zimbabwe is starting to show signs of significant traction. Zimbabwe’s energy regulator, ZERA, is actively promoting EVs and has recently added the 62 kWh Nissan Leaf e+ to its fleet. Now, Distributed Power Africa (DPA) has started deploying electric vehicle charging stations across Zimbabwe. The EV stations include 7 kW and 22 kW AC chargers. On the DC side, it is installing 60 kW DC fast chargers, which will be rolled out in major cities, and then scaled up to the country’s major highways.
The first three EV charging stations have been set up in Msasa, Harare with 17 others in progress at various sites across the country. The DC fast charging stations have the capacity to charge the Vaya Africa’s 24kW Nissan Leaf to 80% in under 30 mins, and greatly minimize wait times for Vaya drivers and their customers. All charging stations will be open to the public, as DPA supports Zimbabwe’s effort to adopt electric vehicles. Some early adopters and EV enthusiasts have been importing EVs directly for their personal use in Zimbabwe. I drive a 2013 24 kWh Nissan Leaf and you can read about my journey from ICE to EVs here.
DPA is also offering electric vehicle charging stations as an added service with its corporate and industrial solar installations to encourage businesses to adopt EVs as they upgrade their fleets. These charging stations are available to both new and existing customers with a 50kW+ DPA solar solution. As corporates increase the penetration of electric vehicles in their fleets, there will be a significant drop in their transportation and logistics costs, a positive and welcome cost saving. Combining EVs and PV is a match made in heaven as we have seen in Kenya. The synergies between the two industries will drive adoption in this part of the world.
EVs are a major contribution to a cleaner environment, and their acceleration will not only reduce carbon emissions but will also reduce the country’s foreign currency spend. Zimbabwe imports fuel worth about $1.2 billion annually. Then there are also additional costs of importing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle spare parts and engine oils. Electric vehicles do not require constant parts and fluid changes on maintenance cycles, which makes them cheaper to own over time. The EV market is fast growing, with over 10 million electric vehicles on the road worldwide, but the penetration of EVs on the African continent is still quite low. Consumers worry about the lack of public charging infrastructure, which fuels range anxiety. DPA’s push to address this should help consumers in Zimbabwe get to a stage where more and more people will feel comfortable buying EVs.
“Our charging stations will ease a major concern for consumers looking to move to EVs, by removing the fear of running out of battery on their journey.” said Divyajeet Mahajan, CEO of DPA Zimbabwe. “Electric vehicles have zero emissions and we are excited to add this innovation to our solar offering. We have grown our commercial and industrial energy deployments, and bundling our solar solutions with EV charging infrastructure will escalate the transition to cleaner energy,” he said.
Modern electric passenger vehicles such as the VW eGolf and the 40 kWh Nissan Leaf have a real world range of about 250 km. With DPA’s fast chargers located at 150 km intervals along the country’s major highways, drivers will be able to do a round trip of the country comfortably. DPA is installing fast chargers that have both Chademo and CCS. Traditionally, 90% of vehicles imported into Zimbabwe are used vehicles from right hand drive markets such as Japan and the United Kingdom. Therefore, there will be a lot of used EVs from Japan with Chademo and then others with CCS coming from the UK. Some official new vehicle dealerships that are starting to bring in brand new EVs into Zimbabwe are bringing in vehicles with CCS. The charging stations installed by DPA are configured to ensure they can serve any of these vehicles. We are following these developments closely and we will be sharing all updates as soon as we get them. We hope more dealerships of legacy automakers start to bring in their BEVs to Zimbabwe and the rest of the continent.
All images by Remeredzai
Disclosure: The author works for DPA. He writes on CleanTechnica in his personal capacity as an EV Advocate.