Written by: Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
You’re not about to buy a hydrogen-powered truck, but you might be in the market to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) in the next five years.
As the popularity of the electric vehicle market increases, so too will the demand for public charging points for these vehicles. In the UK, for example, the government has pledged to have 300,000 charging points by 2030.
The trick is to position them correctly.
Professor Henry Tse, Director of New Mobility Technologies at Connected Places Catapult in the UK, explains they are looking at the ideal balance between the use of home, on-street and destination charging points. “How could people be encouraged to use destination charging? So, we have been working with industry and academia to look at the situation in great depth.”
This research will add to the sustainable uptake of electric vehicles. However, African markets need to conduct similar studies to address unique circumstances.
While EV owners suffer from range anxiety (especially in countries where charging points remain few and far between), the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle is also a concern. It means downtime for a business.
Time is money. As such, lengthy charging times are especially detrimental to small businesses and passenger vehicle drivers (taxis, Uber-type entrepreneurs). The hour or hours taken to charge an EV is time out for the driver to earn money.
Could the solution be hydrogen?
I mentioned hydrogen-powered trucks above because this space’s progress could prove a future business opportunity.
Fahmida Smith, the principal for market development at Anglo American Platinum, explains: “With hydrogen, it takes you the same time as it would to fuel up with diesel, so it doesn’t impact your pocket.”
Last May, the mining company launched a hydrogen-powered ultra-haul mine truck, showing off a vehicle that makes no noise and emits no fossil fuel emissions. In addition, changing these ultra-haul mine trucks from diesel to hydrogen could represent an 80% reduction of onsite diesel emissions across the business.
While hydrogen-powered passenger vehicles are unlikely to feature soon, we are seeing a steady transition to cleaner mobility.
Testament to this smarter mobility future is Africa’s first consumer clean energy and electric event, E-Fest ELECTRIC. It takes place in Cape Town on 25 February and co-located at the Cape Town E-Prix ABB Formula E Championship E-Prix village. While adding to the excitement is Africa’s Green Economy Summit from 22–24 February.
Formula One pit stops are the epitome of teamwork, and people have written reams about how what they do translates to lessons all businesses could stand to learn. It will be interesting to see what lessons from the E-Prix will eventually trickle down to how we charge and drive our future EVs.
Till then, let’s get moving sustainably.