THE PRACTICALITY PICKLE
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-