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Enviro Automotive to launch electric panel van, with bakkie, truck, car to follow

18th November 2022

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Enviro Automotive is set to launch its first battery electric panel van in the local market – the DFSK EC35.

Enviro Automotive is the importer and distributor of Chinese-made DFSK electric vehicles (EVs).

MD Gideon Wolvaardt says his company aims to assist transport operators and entrepreneurs who wish to convert to commercial electric vehicles (CEVs) and EVs for cost and/or environmental reasons.

“The company’s approach shows the market that going electric is simple, accessible and sustainable.”

The current focus is on CEVs, adds Wolvaardt. At this stage, the South African market has access to the DFSK EC-series electric panel van and 1-ton bakkie.

The first big shipment of panel vans is already on the water, and the bakkies – a workhorse, not a lifestyle vehicle – are in their final testing cycle, notes Wolvaardt.

“The bakkie will most probably be launched in the first quarter of 2023.

“Next year first semester will see the launch of a four-ton EV truck.”

Following this, Enviro Automotive will introduce what it calls “an affordable EV midsized car. We are currently in the process of final negotiations”.

Wolvaardt tells Engineering News & Mining Weekly that the company’s business model is not solely focused on DFSK EVs, as it includes more than one brand, so as “to offer different products to different target markets with different mobility needs”.

“The truck is from Dayun, for example. At this stage, however, it is only Chinese brands.”

“We don’t want to announce the EV car brand yet, because of a nondisclosure agreement and of where we are with the contract negotiations,” he adds.

Wolvaardt says Enviro Automotive currently has two dealer outlets in Gauteng.

“We are finalising our distribution strategy and dealer/agent list, which will be announced at the official launch of the panel van later this year, or early next year.

“Customers will be supported by our technical teams at dealer level and head office level,” he notes.

“The great thing about CEVs is that they need minimum maintenance, so we don’t need a lot of traditional dealerships with lots of service and maintenance parts and people.”

When considering the South African market, Wolvaardt believes the local CEV sector will gain momentum “very quickly because of the massive cost savings and efficiencies” made possible through electrification.

“It is a rational decision-making process with cost benefits, while it also assists companies in reducing their carbon footprint.

“On the passenger EV side, however, it will take longer to see the use of products by the masses because it is expensive at this stage.

“The buying motivators for an EV for private use and a CEV are very different,” says Wolvaardt. “For EVs, it will be emotional, but for CEVs it is primarily cost-driven.”

The EC35
Chinese automaker DFSK (Dongfeng Sokon Automobile) is a joint venture between Dongfeng Motor Company and the Chongqing Sokon Industry Group.

Following the introduction of its C-Series range of delivery bakkies and panel vans in 2009, the company extended the range by introducing the battery-electric EC35 panel van and the EC31 bakkie in 2018.

The load compartment of the two-seater EC35 to be launched in South Africa is accessible through sliding doors on both sides of the panel van, as well as the tailgate.

The vehicle offers a payload of 1 015 kg and a loading space of 4.8 m³.

The EC35 is equipped with a single synchronous electric motor that produces 60 kW and 200 Nm of torque.

It also features a 38.7 kWh lithium-iron phosphate battery.

Charging the battery will cost R56.50, promises Enviro Automotive, yielding a travel distance of up to 270 km, depending on the load and traffic conditions.

With a fast charger, the battery could be charged from zero to 80% in less than an hour.

The EC35 features antilock braking and electric power steering.

The panel van also has air conditioning, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and a touchscreen infotainment system.

It is backed by DFSK’s three-year/60 000 km manufacturer warranty and service plan.

The traction battery has a five-year/ 120 000 km warranty.

Services are scheduled every 12 months or 20 000 km.

Operating costs are reported as 25c/km.

The price of the vehicle has not yet been announcer.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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