ARKANSAS, Nov 28 (Future Headlines)- As the global automotive industry pivots towards sustainability, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is making significant strides in reducing its carbon footprint and fostering electric mobility. This comprehensive analysis explores two major initiatives undertaken by MBSA: a substantial investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations at its East London manufacturing plant and an ambitious expansion of the electric vehicle (EV) charging network in collaboration with Chargify. These initiatives underscore MBSA’s commitment to environmental responsibility, renewable energy adoption, and the advancement of electric mobility in South Africa.
MBSA is injecting R100 million ($5.35 million USD) into a solar PV installation at its East London manufacturing plant. The installation, comprising 22,847 solar panels, is part of the second phase towards achieving net-carbon-neutral manufacturing. The first phase, completed in 2022, featured 3,692 PV solar panels, providing 2 MWp (megawatts peak).
The latest PV installation spans five rooftops, expanding the manufacturing plant’s footprint by an additional 12.6 MWp. The cumulative solar photovoltaic size will reach 14.6 MW peak, aligning with the plant’s maximum demand during production. The annual generation is anticipated to contribute around 20% to the East London plant’s total annual MWh consumption.
MBSA’s phased approach towards net-carbon-neutral manufacturing reflects its commitment to sustainable business practices. The use of solar energy significantly reduces the plant’s reliance on conventional power sources, mitigating carbon emissions.
The project is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2024, in collaboration with a local supplier. Mercedes-Benz aims to cover more than 70% of its energy demand from production with renewable energies by 2030.
Andreas Brand, CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, emphasizes the strategic significance of the solar project in accelerating carbon-neutral manufacturing ambitions. The investment aligns with Mercedes-Benz’s broader sustainability commitments and calls for collective action to address South Africa’s electricity challenges.
Mercedes-Benz South Africa is allocating R40 million ($2.14 million USD) for the expansion of the local EV charging network. The investment is part of a two-phase plan in partnership with Chargify, aiming to deploy over 120 electric vehicle charging stations across South Africa.
Chargify, the chosen partner for the EV charging network rollout, is actively deploying AC and DC fast charging stations in key locations. The network includes sites such as airports, shopping malls, restaurant hubs, private hospitals, residential estates, and small towns.
Mercedes-Benz South Africa boasts the country’s most extensive range of electric vehicles, including EQ and EQ AMG models. The partnership with Chargify is not only a strategic move for expanding the EV charging network but also aligns with Mercedes-Benz’s Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) portfolio.
Phase 1 involves installing 67 Mercedes-Benz EQ branded charging stations across South Africa by Q1 2024. Phase 2, with an additional R25 million earmarked, will see over 60 more charging stations strategically positioned, bringing the total to 127.
Mercedes-Benz and Chargify are actively working to create South Africa’s most extensive EV public charging network, covering major routes and metropolitan areas. Locations like BT Ngebs Mall, Mayfair Hotel, and various hotels and hubs are part of the ongoing installation phase.
All Mercedes-Benz EQ customers will benefit from a 10% discount when charging via the Chargify network. The collaboration emphasizes creating a sustainable ecosystem and supporting the broader transition to all-electric vehicles.
Reporting by Alireza Sabet; Editing by Sarah White