Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY - Mit­subishi i MIEV

Re­li­a­bil­ity, how­ever, re­mains a pickle.

Dur­ing this writer’s test drive of SA’s Joule, (while that play was still in pro­duc­tion) he was told in con­fi­dence that the ve­hi­cle would not be al­lowed out of the work­shop if it was rain­ing. The rea­son: its like­li­hood of short­ing while on the road.

In­fra­struc­ture is an­other hur­dle. Power points would need to be fit­ted in park­ing ar­cades and as part of the ser­vice of­fered by or­di­nary f illing sta­tions. Since EVs come at the ex­pense of fuel sales, you can bet the petrol com­pa­nies will charge high pre­mi­ums for the favour of mak­ing their fore­courts avail­able to the tiny EV mar­ket.

An­other big prob­lem with EVs is the length of time they take to charge. Ide­ally, a ve­hi­cle should take 10 min­utes to charge (or not much longer than the con­ven­tional way of fill­ing up). But if one imag­ines the length of time it takes to charge a tiny cell­phone or even a lap­top bat­tery, the recharg­ing tech­nol­ogy still needs to play catch-up in a big way.

EVs lose points on their per­ceived util­ity, par­tic­u­larly when one con­sid­ers the lim­its of un­der­tak­ing long haul routes. If the now de­funct Joule had come into reg­u­lar use, a trip from Bloem­fontein to Cape Town ( just 1000km) would be a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing, time wise. In fact, based on the Joule’s bat­tery ca­pa­bil­i­ties at the time, the trip would have taken around two days (42 hours min­i­mum) to com­plete given the Joule’s 300km max­i­mum range and eight-

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