battling to keep the lights on -
another drain on its resources in the form of electric cars which apparently take as much power to heat your water.
It takes around eight hours to fully charge the battery of an all-electric car using a plug-in home charger - the equivalent to having a second geyser on in the house.
Water Heaters account for the bulk of household electricity and Eskom has called on South Africans to switch off 'geysers' during the peak consumption period between 5pm and 9pm.
OFF peak charging
Nissan plans to introduce the latest model of its Leaf all-electric car in South Africa towards the end of this year. A full charge of the latest model sold in Europe has a range of 195km. Motorists who travel 20 000km a year would need to recharge their car for eight hours every third day.
Nissan says charging electric cars will “flatten” electricity consumption patterns because consumers will recharge batteries at night.
Eskom has taken delivery of 10 of the electric cars to examine their recharging requirements over the next three years.
The Department of Environmental Affairs has also taken delivery of four of the electric cars, partly to raise public awareness and also to examine the possibility of introducing the cars into government fleets.
Steve Lennon, in charge of Eskom’s sustainability programme, said yesterday they supported electric cars in principle, but the impact of electric vehicles on the electricity utility was “not to be underestimated”.
Electric vehicles appeared to be gaining popularity as a more environmentally-friendly and cheaper fuel option.
But both the slow recharging at home or the fast recharge of 30 minutes at special facilities would have implications for Eskom.
“Also, no special tariffs or charging facilities are available in South Africa. It is important for Eskom to evaluate and determine what tariffs would be recommended and how a charging network would be established.”
Eskom also needed to understand what electricity infrastructure electric cars would need.
Charging stations have been installed at Eskom’s head office in Johannesburg.
Ross Garvie, chief marketing director for Nissan, said yesterday the amount of electricity the battery would take to recharge fully would be similar to the amount of electricity a geyser would use.
“If the battery is flat it will take between seven and a half and eight hours to recharge on a 16-amp plug.
“It’s like having a geyser on at home, but people will be charging it while they sleep when there is excess capacity on the grid,” Garvie said.
At specialised facilities, the vehicles could be fully recharged in 30 minutes.
could the leaf kill a country, or just make it up its game to a better infrastructure?