Powering Africa to a better future is the vision of Distributed Power Africa (DPA). By the way, DPA is a subsidiary of Econet Global. Their mission is to increase the continent’s uptake of renewable solar energy as a comprehensive and reliable source of power by eliminating the barrier of initial capital outlay, optimizing power usage, and reducing costs. In detail, DPA is a market leader in innovative solar energy solutions. They have operations in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Part of the Econet Group of Companies, Distributed Power Africa (DPA) supplies commercial and industrial customers with efficient, green solar energy installations without an initial capital outlay.

The Latest News – Charging Stations For EVs

DPA has started an interesting project of setting up charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) all across Zimbabwe. These will be direct current charging stations and will be accessible to the public. Even interested private players such as businesses or companies will be able to tap into this. Essentially they can have charging stations set up at their premises if they want. The package will also come with a solar capacity of at least 50 kW. This will all be in a bid to encourage enterprises to take up renewable and sustainable energy solutions.

So far 3 charging stations have been completed in Msasa, Harare. Seventeen more are already being set up in different locations all across Zimbabwe. You probably might have seen electric vehicles used by Vaya – Nissan Leaf model. It takes roughly less than 45 minutes to fully those cars.

Mr Divyajeet Mahajan (CEO of DPA Zimbabwe)

He had the following to say regarding this development:

Our charging stations will ease a major concern for consumers looking to move to EVs, by removing the fear of running out of battery on their journey. Electric vehicles have zero emissions and we are excited to add this innovation to our solar offering. We have grown our commercial and industrial energy deployments, and bundling our solar solutions with EV charging infrastructure will escalate the transition to cleaner energy.”

Let Us Discuss

Is It Worth It?

There have of course been comments about whether or not this is worth it. The major reason has been that there are not that many EVs in Zimbabwe. Though that may be true I do not think it is basis enough to question the worthiness of setting up charging stations. The setting up of charging stations can actually inspire more and more people to buy EVs.

Long Term Implications

From a renewable energy proponent’s standpoint, EVs can do good for the economy. Because we import fuel every year that is over US$1 billion you can see what EVs can do for the economy. This is, however, theoretical at best because there are several impediments to this. For instance, not everyone would be a fan of buying an EV – though if it is made a governmental policy that can help. The other thing has to do with the fact that certain bigwigs benefit immensely from the importation and selling of fuel. They would not want anything to get in the way of their businesses. EVs also help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions which is great for the environment and people’s health. All in all, there are many benefits EVs bring about but it is not as simple as it sounds to make EVs mainstream.

How Feasible Is It?

Some might be wondering if this initiative is feasible given that the range for EVs is lesser than that of ordinary fuel-powered vehicles. Well, if you look at some of the common EVs nowadays you will find that their full-charge range is around 250 kilometres. This means that on a typical journey from Masvingo to Harare you would to charge once more before arriving in Harare. This implies that having a charging station say, halfway through the route would be convenient. At the end of the day what would matter most is the strategic positioning of charging stations.

Then we also have the question of power shortages. It is a valid concern but that is where the solar aspect comes in. Instead of solely relying on ordinary power, the charging stations can be mainly powered by solar energy. One of the great things about the Zimbabwean climate is that there is lots of sunlight in general.

Are EVs Affordable?

The other thing to look at is the general price tag of an EV. This is one of the biggest impediments to the uptake of EVs in Zimbabwe. Typically you will find the least expensive EV around US$30000 – that is for a VW e-Golf. Not many Zimbabwe would want to part with that amount for such a small car. The high price tag of EVs is still mainly due to the sky-high costs of their production.

What are your thoughts regarding the things I have been talking about? Kindly share with us in the comments section below. In Zimbabwe, you can get a hold DPA at Smatsatsa Office Park 1st Floor, Block B, Borrowdale Road, Borrowdale, Harare. Alternatively, you can email them at enquiries@dpaafrica.com.