Motoring News

Results released: South Africa’s first open-road EV range test

THREE OF THE BEST ELECTRICS ON TEST. The Gerotek high-speed oval north of Johannesburg was chosen for the three-car, one-charge, testing. Image Supplied

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – How far will a particular battery car travel in comparison to two others from competing brands on a single charge in real-world South African conditions at a steady 120km/h?

Well, a benchmarking evaluation has answered that question by pitting three SA-available electric vehicles – a Jaguar I-Pace, a BMW i3s, and a MiniCooper SE – against each other in what is said to be a first-of-a-kind, open-road, battery-range assessment.

Well, not exactly an open road, but instead the banked, semi-oval, Gerotek vehicle testing station near Pretoria, South Africa, which has a banked circuit suitable for continuous high-speed driving.

SEEKING A NATIONAL BENCHMARK

The inaugural test was run on the Gerotek high-speed banked oval in November 2021 to set a national benchmark for each of the three battery-powered variants. It laid down an historical reference point for car-buyers to evaluate battery performance advancements as more EVs add to the local market each year.

The maximum claimed range of any given EV is well-advertised: the Gerotek shoot-out showed ow far one might go on a single charge at the national speed limit ( 120km/h in SA ) a characteristically hot South Africa day.

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure cycle that automakers use to calculate advertised ranges includes urban, suburban, rural and highway driving then prescribed acceleration phases and a set number of stops – it’s the annual AutoTrader SA Electric Car Test and concentrates on open-road driving – no regenerative braking.

…AND THIS IS HOW IT ALL PANNED OUT

Considering it has the greatest net battery capacity at 84.7kWh (the usable portion of the standard 90kWh pack) and a claimed upper-end range of 470km, it’s little surprise the Jaguar I-Pace achieved the most impressive distance on the day, circling the Gerotek for 277km at a true average speed of 119.9 km/h.

The BMW i3s e-drive REx (the test was conducted with its range-extender fuel-tank empty) covered 168.5km at an average 120.02km/h,.

The the MINI Cooper SE was just behind on 148km at an average of 119km/h.

With net battery capacities of 37.9kWh and 28.9 kWh and advertised ranges of 285km and 215km respectively, these two new-energy hatchbacks were designed for city rather than open-road, so their final results were by no means underwhelming, particularly when the average daily commute for South African drivers is only 22km.

…AND A WORD FROM THE SPONSOR

AutoTrader’s CEO George Mienie told The Corner: “While we believe it’s important to set a benchmark under South African conditions rather than relying on typically cooler European testing scenarios, our broader aim was simply to educate.

‘’Range anxiety is a hurdle for many potential buyers – the test offers a better understanding of EV ranges. Petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles equate with stop/start city driving and high fuel- consumption and highway cruising with better economy; the opposite proves true for electric cars.

“Information from such as the 2021 Gerotek Test shows people why EVs are becoming more popular.’’

1 thought on “Results released: South Africa’s first open-road EV range test”

  1. Thanks for that Les. How long before we can do the JHB – Durban trip using an EV? Will that conceivably be achievable in a singe day, allowing time for charging – or 2 days for an overnight charge?

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