Free State signs EV charging deal

EV charging

The Free State is one step closer to realising its goal of becoming an energy hub in South Africa.

It has become the first province in the country to launch an off-grid electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

This follows the signing of an MoU between the province and Zero Carbon Charge (ZCC), reports ESI Africa.

According to Green Building Africa, ZCC will build 15 charging stations for passenger EVs, while its recently launched subsidiary Zero Carbon Logistics will build seven stations dedicated to electric trucks.

The network, set to come online in September 2025, will be built along major national routes in the rural areas of the province. The ultra-fast EV charging stations will all be solar-powered and, therefore, off-grid. It takes 20 minutes to charge one vehicle.

The national government reports that the municipalities involved include Mohokare, Ngwathe, Mestimaholo, Mafube, Tokologo, Maluti A Phofung, Mangaung, Dihlabeng, Kopanong, Phumelela, Moqhaka, Mantsopa and Masilonyana.

The project has a price tag of R4.3 billion, according to ZCC.

ZCC co-founder Joubert Roux said the EV charging network ‘will not only reduce the province’s carbon footprint but also stimulate local economic growth, creating new opportunities for small businesses, communities and farmers’.

The province envisages that landowners will earn 5% of the revenue collected by the charging station built on their land. The province, meanwhile, is planning to reinvest 1% of the total revenue in socio-economic development projects in the region.

MyBroadband reports that ZCC has already started a larger project to build 240 off-grid charging stations across the country – half for passenger vehicles and half for trucks.

At the signing of the Free State MoU in Bloemfontein, Free State MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs, Thabo Meeko, said: “It is encouraging to see that through Free State’s energy indaba and investment conference, we are attracting private investors that see the potential of the Free State as being an energy hub for the country.”

At the Free State Energy Security Indaba in November last year, Premier Mxolisi Dukwana indicated that Free Syate’scentral location in  the country meant it was  perfectly placed to become South Africa’s energy hub.

“Thanks to these unique features, the possibilities of turning the Free State into South Africa’s central one-stop-shop energy hub are endless. The Free State’s strategic location and geographic proximity to five other provinces, as well as the neighbouring Lesotho, provide several advantages for the province to become an energy hub in South Africa,” he said.

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