Motoring journalist Justus Visagie and co-driver Michael MacIntyre drove from Cape Town to Johannesburg in a Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ sedan in 19 hours and 6 seconds. This is a new record for an electric car trip between the two famous South African cities.
Netstar, a provider of advanced vehicle and fleet tracking, as well as fleet management solutions, tracked the car to verify the time it took the team to drive from Mercedes-Benz Century City in Cape Town to Mercedes-Benz Sandton in Johannesburg, a distance of 1404 kilometers. They wanted to prove that drivers of fully electric cars can enjoy road trips and long-distance journeys. The pair left Century City in Cape Town at 17:56 on 28 February and reached their destination at 13:02 the next day (the 1st of March). The previous record of 20 hours and 17 minutes was set by Visagie and TV presenter Ernest Page last year in a BMW iX xDrive50. That trip was also was also measured by Netstar.
Using GridCars public chargers, the pair recharged the Mercedes-Benz EQS five times in the following towns: Laingsburg, Beaufort West, Colesberg, Bloemfontein, and Ventersburg. They reached Sandton with a range of 171 km remaining after their last charge. “The car gave us a range of approximately 500 km on a full charge (100%), but we rarely charged the battery above 80%,” Visagie says. “From 80 to 100%, the rate of charge often slows down, which could have cost us time,” he explains. “Each charge took approximately 33 minutes, and a bit of pre-planning helped us to avoid chargers affected by load-shedding,” he adds.
Justus will return to Cape Town on the 6th of March, and this time he will drive the fully electric BMW i4 M50 sports sedan and attempt to set a quickest time between Johannesburg, famously known as Egoli (City of Gold), and Cape Town, which is popularly known as the Mother City. “I will be dividing the journey into two days (legs) and drive during daylight hours only,” Visagie explains. “It’s safer this way, and by driving during the day, I want to show that BEV drivers don’t have to wait for hours for an opportunity to charge, even at times when there are more vehicles on the road.”
This is really exciting as it gives South Africans local examples of long road trips along popular highways in all electric cars. Over the past 7 years or so, I have been binge-watching Bjorn Nyland’s electric road trips in Norway, other European countries, and Thailand. It’s really good to have practical examples locally. There are more electric vehicle models available now in South Africa, and the electric vehicle charging infrastructure side of things is also developing nicely, thanks to the likes of GridCars.
As South Africa is going through its worst ever period of electricity rationing, known as load-shedding, many South Africans may be skeptical of going on long road trips in electric cars, but as this latest trip by Justus and Michael showed, people can go on long highway trips in South Africa, even during Stage 6 load-shedding. There is a popular load-shedding tracking app in South Africa that shows you which areas will experience load-shedding and at what times, and therefore one can plan accordingly. I look forward to finding out how the return trip goes in the BMW i4 M50 sports sedan. I will keep you posted.
Images courtesy of Justus Visagie
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