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South Africa’s Highest Mileage BMW i3 Has Now Driven 300,000 KM On Its Original Battery!

Shaun Maidment’s 2016 BMW i3 has just reached 300,000 kilometers on its odometer! Shaun’s car has the highest mileage of any i3 in Africa.

Shaun bought his BMW i3 in August of 2016. This 60 Ah i3 has been driven for over 300,000 kilometers in those 5 and a half years on its original battery! The BMW i3, with 60 AH cells, has a 21.6 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery with a usable capacity of 18.8 kWh, according to EVdatabase. After 300,000 km over 5 and a half years in hot and sunny South Africa, the battery in Shaun’s i3 still has around 16 kWh usable capacity, which is about 85% of its original usable capacity.

The 300,000 kilometers includes a lot of highway road trips. Shaun famously went on a road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town before South Africa’s fast charging network had been developed. Shaun’s i3 is the version that comes with a small petrol-powered range extender. However, he did a 1500 km trip back then without the aid of the small petrol generator to assist the battery. The first generation BMW i3 has an EPA range of about 130 km. Shaun had to ask coffee shops and guest houses for normal plug points on the way. He managed to do the trip in 5 days. Most recently, he has been on the road again around South Africa as part of his work with Breev. Breev is expanding its roll-out of AC level 2 chargers in South Africa.

These real-life examples have an important role in the quest to raise awareness and educate people on just how long electric vehicle batteries can last. Most people’s practical experience with batteries will be based on their experience with cellphones, traditional 12V car batteries, and lead acid stationary storage batteries for their home solar systems. These tend to be replaced in about 2 or so years and hence one of the most frequently asked questions we get from people who haven’t had any exposure to electric vehicles is, “When do I need to change the battery?,” along with “How much will it cost to change the battery”?

Modern electric vehicles have very good active thermal and battery management systems, ensuring that their lithium-based batteries go on for much longer than people expect. Toyota, for example, is putting a lot of emphasis on its 1 million kilometer battery warranty to assure its potential customers. It’s really good to see these real-world examples in this part of the globe. These real-life use cases will go a long way in helping to address most people’s concerns about the lifespan of batteries in modern electric vehicles and help to drive adoption of EVs.

All images courtesy of Breev.

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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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