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Photo by Sam Clark, courtesy of MINI South Africa

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Driving On Solar Power! MINI & Red Bull Launch Solar-Powered Charging Station In Cape Town

MINI South Africa has teamed up with Red Bull to launch the country’s first MINI-branded solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in Cape Town. The charging station has two connectors, each with a maximum output of 9kW AC. Both connectors are Type 2.

Head of MINI South Africa, Shaun Willis, noted: “MINI and Red Bull have a long-standing relationship, forged 17 years ago in California when the first MINIs were converted into the iconic Red Bull MINI. There has always been a strong union between our brands, and this collaboration on our first solar-powered charging station is further evidence of this in South Africa.”

MINI South Africa says the launch of the first solar-powered charging station is another sign of MINI’s pledge to protect the planet as part of its overarching Big Love brand statement.

Willis added: “True to MINI’s optimistic attitude to life, we are driven by the potential of creative ways to play our part to protect the planet. With the first stand-alone public solar charging unit in Cape Town, together with Red Bull, we are showing our commitment to sustainable energy solutions.”

The unveiling took place on Saturday, 18 March 2023 at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.. Its partners, the V&A Waterfront, the City of Cape Town, and Red Bull South Africa were present at the launch.

In pursuit of its sustainability goals, MINI announced in 2021 that it would be an electric-only marque by the early 2030s. A total of three new electric models, including the new MINI Cooper Electric, will be coming onto the market as part of the new MINI Family.

The MINI brand has always been a popular brand in South Africa. It’s very popular with university students and early career professionals as well. When I was at university in Pretoria, I remember seeing these Red Bull MINIs (internal combustion engine models at the time) at a lot of events. I used to see them on campus a lot as well, being driven by some of the brand ambassadors. It’s great to see that these Red Bull MINIs are also getting some electric models.

This got me thinking, the all-electric MINI Cooper SE is currently the most affordable electric car in South Africa, and given the fact that the MINI Cooper is already popular with college students and young professionals, it would be great to see these types of solar-powered charging stations being installed at university campuses around the country and at other spots where early career professionals like to hang out. Of course, these are not the only target market groups for the electric MINI Cooper SE and similar electric vehicles, but it would go a long way in raising awareness around electric vehicles in the county in this age group.

I will be on the lookout for more information on these solar-powered charging stations, including any information on if there is any stationary battery storage onsite to cover the period during load-shedding and also information on the installed capacity (kWp) of the PV panels as well as any plans for rolling out more of these around South Africa. EVs and PV are a match made in heaven and a perfect combination that we need to see more of in more countries on the African continent.

Image courtesy of MINI South Africa

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