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CEV charges around the country on testing 5 200 km open-road trip

Home Uncategorised CEV charges around the country on testing 5 200 km open-road trip

ENVIRO Automotive, the importer and distributor of DFSK’s C-Series battery-electric panel vans and bakkies, has completed the local testing programme of its EC35 panel van by taking it on a 5 200 km open-road trip with a GridCars’ senior project & maintenance manager behind the wheel.

Managing director of Enviro Automotive, Gideon Wolvaardt, explains that the idea of an open-road trip was developed in conjunction with Winstone Jordaan, the founder and Managing Director of GridCars. “Although the EC35 was developed for last-mile deliveries, we decided to test it on the open road to tick off all the boxes of our local testing programme.”

Battery-electric panel vans are used for last-mile deliveries and are usually less used on the open road. However, Enviro Automotive was adamant about ensuring that its battery-electric delivery vehicles were exposed to different conditions across the country. This included hot and cold weather, heavy rain, mountain passes and city driving.

The purpose of this trip was to visit twenty-seven GridCar DC fast charging stations en route to Durban, the Western and Eastern Cape, as part of the company’s annual hardware and software maintenance programme. The company manages more than 300 charging stations across South Africa. The trip started from GridCars’ head office in Roodepoort and took nine days to complete.

“While we understand the vehicle was designed for last-mile deliveries and knowing we were doing a safari, the vehicle exceeded our expectations. After doing the maintenance activities, it was really convenient to test the charger with a vehicle,” says Jordaan. “The EC35 drew a crowd wherever it went and will certainly be a good package for anyone looking to start the transition to electric.”

Wolvaardt says that the data collected from this trip is vital for future product planning, service support and warranty programmes. “The test data will be shared with DFSK in China and is used to ensure the optimum performance for both the EC35 panel van and the EC31 one-tonne bakkie.”

Enviro Automotive has been testing the EC35 in local transport fleets since July. Valuable data about the EC35’s performance was collated and shared with potential customers, including big transport operators and entrepreneurs, supporting them in making their transition to electric vehicles simple, accessible and sustainable.

“This trip gives us extra confidence about our DFSK battery-electric workhorses. The EC35 not only passed its last-mile delivery tests with flying colours but also impressed us with efficiencies shown on the open road at a fraction of the cost of petrol and diesel panel van competitors. Its excellent performance, ride comfort, cargo space and power consumption per 100 km make it the ideal vehicle in the highly competitive delivery environment,” says Wolvaardt.

The EC35 will be launched in the market in January. The first EC31 one-tonne bakkie arrived in the country recently and is currently being tested by the company and various transport operators. The EC31, which will be launched in the second quarter of 2023, shares the same platform and technology as its panel van sibling and offers a payload of 1 020 kg.

The EC35 offers a payload of 1 015 kg and a large loading space of 4.8 m³. The cargo area’s dimensions are 2 530 mm (L) x 1 440 mm (W) x 1 270 mm (H). The cargo area is accessible via sliding doors on both sides of the panel van and the tailgate, making loading and offloading easy.

“We are excited about the huge interest in our panel van. As far as we know, this was the first trip of its kind with a commercial electric vehicle (CEV) in the country. Our takeout from this trip is that DFSK’s battery-electric vehicles save you massive amounts of money and have the necessary reliability and durability that transport operators expect,” concludes Wolvaardt.

In September, the company announced that following its DFSK battery-electric range, it also plans to introduce a range of exciting electric motorcycles, a battery-electric four-tonne truck and passenger cars.

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