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Image courtesy of Kwaku Dzvukamanja

Clean Transport

New All-Electric Shuttle Service Now Available At Harare’s International Airport

As African countries join the electric vehicle revolution, fleet operators and mass transit services represent some of the low-hanging fruit. These are key segments that are ripe for electrification. A lot of operators in these industries have fixed routes that make it easy to select EVs to fit their specific needs. The fixed nature of some of their routes make it easy to site charging infrastructure along those routes as well as take advantage of their depots for daytime and overnight. This also makes it quite easy to schedule charging sessions in a way that will not disrupt their normal operations.

Taxi and shuttle services are key stakeholders and a favorite for many when looking at the most favorable options for market entry. We have seen this with NopeaRide in Kenya. NopeaRide is now expanding its all-electric ride-hailing service in Nairobi. Vaya Africa also has a similar service in Harare, Zimbabwe. Now EASY Go, a division of the CMED, has introduced an electric shuttle service from Harare’s International airport.

The shuttle service is using the BYD T3. CMED recently took delivery of several T3s as well as some new BYD E6s with the Blade battery. The T3 electric van has a 50.3 kWh battery and is equipped with a 100 kW AC permanent magnet synchronous motor providing 180 Nm of torque. It has a range of 310 km in city driving and 269 km combined cycle (WLTP). In terms of advanced safety, it comes with features like Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electric Parking System (EPS), Brake Override System (BOS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and more. The regenerative braking system helps to improve range and save energy.

The T3’s rear interior has checkered-plate cargo flooring. It boasts an ample cargo space of 3.8 cubic meters. It can also sustain a payload of approximately 720kg. The T3 also comes as a 7-seater minivan. When compared to a traditional diesel van, the T3 can effectively reduce the cost of urban logistics for any company. It cuts the fuel consumption and requires less service and maintenance. It can be fully charged with DC equipment in one and a half hours.

The Blade battery uses cobalt-free LFP (LiFePO4) cells in module-less CTP (cell-to-pack) configuration. The E6 comes with a 70 kWh battery, with an estimated range of 450 km in the WLTP cycle. It has an AC permanent magnet synchronous 70 kW motor.

Some of the other specs are:

  • Top speed: 130 km/h
  • Battery capacity: 70 kWh
  • Fast Charging: DC CCS2 60kW (1.5h)
  • Slow Charging: AC Type2  6.6kW (12h)
  • Max. torque of front motor: 180 Nm

Harare’s International airport is quite close to town. For example, it is only about 24 km from Arundel, Mt Pleasant, and Borrowdale suburbs. The T3 Shuttle in 7-seater configuration and with a range of over 300 km is perfect for this application. CMED is parastatal responsible for fleets in several government departments. Zimbabwe’s Energy Regulator, ZERA, recently added the 64 kWh Nissan Leaf e+. It’s really great to see government departments adding EVs to their fleets. We hope fleet operators in the private sector in Zimbabwe also start to add EVs soon.

Image courtesy of Kwaku Dzvukamanja

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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