Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Where should Tesla place their Superchargers in South Africa?

When Tesla launches the Model 3 in South Africa, probably sometime in the next year or two, they are
undoubtedly going to set up a network of their Supercharger fast charging stations. In every other market they've entered they have provided the charging infrastructure along with the battery powered vehicles. Presumably there will be Superchargers in the big cities of South Africa and the suburban sprawl that surrounds them. Where will they be positioned though on the freeways linking the major metropolitan areas? I thought it would be a nice idea to try and predict the Supercharger positioning on the major routes.

Bear in mind the Model 3 which is the first Tesla model we will see in South Africa, will have a range of at least 210 miles which is about 335km. Recent reports though indicate the range may be even more than this, presumably exceeding the 380km battery range of it's rival the Chevy Bolt. As it currently takes a Tesla Model S 40 minutes to charge to 80% full and another 35 minutes for the final 20%, it makes sense that the Superchargers should be within 80% of the maximum range which is 268km, so not to make stops longer than 40 minutes. 40 minutes seems like the perfect amount of time to stretch ones legs a bit, get something to drink and eat and make oneself comfortable for the next leg of the journey. For this exercise I will make sure no too charging stations are further apart than 268km so no stop should take longer than 40 minutes.
  1. Johannesburg to Cape Town (1398km)
    A journey that many people split into two days with a stop off for the night on the way. If you were wanting to do it in one day in an electric car then you'd really need Tesla's latest Model S with 500km plus battery range. The route is almost entirely along the N1 freeway. Here are where I think the Superchargers could go.

    1. Kroonstad (207km from Johannesburg)Roughly half way between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein makes it an obvious choice.
    2. Bloemfontein (212km from Kroonstad)The capital city of the Free State and the sixth largest city in South Africa
    3. Colesburg (235km from Bloemfontein)Colesberg is a town with 17,354 inhabitants in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, located on the main N1 road from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
    4. Richmond (146km from Colesburg)Bit of a shorter leg as the next major town is Beaufort West and that would possibly be too far in one go from Colesburg. Anyway, maybe only a 20 minute charge to 50% would be necessary while sipping on a coffee at this point.
    5. Beaufort West (183km from Richmond)Beaufort West is a town in the Western Cape province in South Africa. It is the largest town in the arid Great Karoo region, and is known as the "Capital of the Karoo"
    6. Laingsburg (199km from Beaufort West and 264km from Cape Town)The last charging point before Cape Town. 

    So six stops of 40 minutes would add about four hours onto what would be almost a fourteen hour drive. If you split the journey over two days then it would be three stops per day, what you'd probably do in any ICE vehicle anyway. You'll need to stop to stretch your legs and refreshments whatever energy source is propelling your trip, so why not charge at the same time.
  2. Durban to Johannesburg (568km)Probably one of the busiest long distance routes in South Africa. Half distance is Harrismith which is a bit further than 268km from both cities, so we'll have to make two stops on our way.
    1. Van Reenen (269km from Durban)Okay 1km over our limit. However a good place to recharge if you're going to Johannesburg or to Bloemfontein from Durban.
    2. Heidelberg (253km from Van Reenen and 52km from Johannesburg)Quite close to Johannesburg for the final recharge. It will allow you to carry on to Pretoria or any of the outlying suburbs without any range anxiety though.

    Most people will stop for a meal break on their way between these two cities in any event. The last stop at Heidelberg can just be a quick 20 minute charge to get into Johannesburg. You'd probably need to stop for petrol there anyway.
  3. Durban to Bloemfontein (657km)The route from Durban to Bloemfontein and beyond to Cape Town as per route 1.

    1. Van Reenen (269km from Durban)As per the Durban to Johannesburg route.
    2. Senekal (193km from Van Reenen and 178km from Bloemfontein)Senekal is a town situated on the banks of the Sand River in the eastern part of the Free State province of South Africa. It was named after Commandant FP Senekal.

    Again a two stop journey for a Model 3, probably a two stop journey for most drivers.
  4. Bloemfontein to Port Elizabeth (654km)A similar length route to that between Durban and Bloemfontein
    1. Colesburg (235km from Bloemfontein)As per route 1 before we leave the N1.
    2. Cradock (200km from Colesburg and 244km from Port Elizabeth)Cradock is a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in the upper valley of the Great Fish River, 250 kilometres by road northeast of Port Elizabeth.

    Two forty minute breaks to refresh during a seven hour journey, again nothing out of the ordinary for any motorist.
  5. Johannesburg to Nelspruit (341km)Mbombela, formerly Nelspruit, is the capital of South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province. It’s a gateway to Kruger National Park, home to elephants, zebras, rhinos and other wildlife.
    1. Middelburg (163km from Johannesburg and 188km from Nelspruit)Perfect half way point for motorists from Gautang on their way to Mpumulanga.
Obviously this still leaves plenty of gaps but for a start would cover some of the more popular motoring routes in the country. See the map below for my predicted positioning of the first South African Tesla Supercharger stations.
Future Tesla Supercharger stations in South Africa?

No comments:

Post a Comment