15 December 2022
Local assembly plans for Enviro Automotive's electric panel van and bakkie
Enviro Automotive, the importer and distributor of DFSK's battery-electric vehicles, announced local production plans to reduce its products' acquisition cost and make transport operators' investments in commercial electric vehicles (CEVs) more affordable and sustainable.
DFSK (Dongfeng Sokon Automobile), a leading vehicle manufacturer in China, extended its popular C-Series delivery vehicle range in 2007 with battery-electric panel vans and bakkies. Both the EC35 panel van and EC31 one-tonne bakkie soon became very popular in the last-mile delivery environment in the markets where they were sold.
"The battery-electric EC-Series has an operating cost of only 25 cents per kilometre, a fraction of its rivals featuring internal combustion engines," says Gideon Wolvaardt, Managing Director of Enviro Automotive. "It also offers reduced maintenance costs because of fewer moving parts and reduces your carbon footprint, which lately, has become an important social- and community-related concern."
After extensive research into the CEV market, Enviro Automotive was set up to import affordable electric vehicles and to make transport operators' investments in electric vehicles a sustainable long-term solution. One of the first business scenarios Enviro Automotive investigated was to determine the feasibility of a local assembly programme to create additional value for its customers.
"We have years of experience in the renewable energy market, which influenced our decision to start our local assembly programme with the production of battery packs for electric vehicles. This will reduce the acquisition cost of our vehicles and strengthen our competitive position in the fast-growing local electric vehicle market," says Gawie Brink, Technical Director of Enviro Automotive and founder of Solar Europe.
Brink explains that Solar Europe has been operating in South Africa since 2019 and has learnt valuable lessons in the renewable energy market. "Our investigation into renewable energy and to save on delivery costs led us to conduct research into battery-electric light- and heavy commercial vehicles, which saw the formation of Enviro Automotive and the signing of distribution agreements with Chinese manufacturers DFSK and Dayun."
Enviro Automotive's first DFSK test units, customised for harsh African conditions, arrived in the country in June 2022. Since then, they have been on trial at various transport operations to collate data about the vehicles' performance in the local delivery environment.
"The decision to start our local assembly programme with battery packs originates from our expert knowledge and high-tech equipment available at Solar Europe. We have fully equipped workshops and production lines that will now be shared with Enviro Automotive. We also have technicians trained in mechanics and electronics, an excellent skillset in the growing electric vehicle market," says Brink.
Brink clarifies that the production of battery packs will not only be for their vehicles, but they will also assist other vehicle manufacturers offering EV products locally to supply and maintain their battery packs. "We predict phenomenal growth in the CEV market in the near future, which will bring several new opportunities such as infrastructure development, job creation and community upliftment as more players compete for market share in the green mobility space."
Wolvaardt and Brink, the co-founders of Enviro Automotive, are optimistic about transport operators' positive feedback to convert to electric vehicles to save costs and to be good corporate citizens concerned about the environment and the communities in which they operate.
"We have received great interest in our EC-Series over the last couple of months, confirming our initial market research that transport operators involved in last-mile deliveries want a cheaper and more sustainable solution for their businesses. Our decision to invest in a local assembly operation indicates our confidence in the growing CEV market," concludes Wolvaardt.
More information about Enviro Automotive's local assembly programme will be announced at the opening of the company's new dealership at its head office in Pretoria.
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8 November 2022
5 200 km open-road trip for Enviro Automotive's EC35 electric panel van
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 with a 5 200 km open-road trip and one of GridCars' Senior Project & Maintenance Managers behind the steering wheel.
Gideon Wolvaardt, the Managing Director of Enviro Automotive, 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.
"This was the first all-electric maintenance trip done by GridCars. 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 a few weeks ago 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.
It features ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and Electric Power Steering (EPS). It boasts a selection of modern-day driver comforts, including air-conditioning, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and a touchscreen infotainment system. It also features a pedestrian warning system that emits a warning sound when the vehicle cruises below 30 km/h.
The EC35 is equipped with a single synchronous electric motor that produces 60 kW and 200 Nm of torque. It features a 38.7 kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery. Charging the battery will cost as little as R56.50 and yield a travel distance of up to 270 km, which equates to a 25 cents per kilometre operating cost. With a DC Fast charger, the battery could be charged from empty to 80 percent capacity in less than an hour.
The EC35 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. Minimal maintenance is required, and services are scheduled every 12 months or 20 000 km.
"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 CEV (Commercial Electric Vehicle) 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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20 October 2022
Enviro Automotive to launch electric panel van; bakkie, truck, car to follow
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, be it 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 mid-sized car. We are currently in the process of final negotiations.”
Wolvaardt tells Engineering News Online that the company’s business model is not solely focussed 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.”
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 EC31 bakkie in 2018.
The load compartment of the two-seater EC35 to be launched in South Africa is accessible via 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.
* During a test drive Engineering News Online can attest to the fact that driving an electric panel van generated significantly more interest from the public than a passenger car. We were even stopped by a tradesman to find out about running costs and efficiency, as he noted that the operating costs on his traditional internal combustion engine panel van fleet were becoming unaffordable.
BY: IRMA VENTER
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR
4 October 2022
Enviro Automotive's EC35 electric panel van addresses future mobility needs
Enviro Automotive is showcasing its EC35 panel van at this year's Smarter Mobility Africa (SMA) Summit at the CSIR in Pretoria, taking place from 5 - 7 October 2022. Enviro Automotive, the importer and distributor of DFSK electric vehicles, showcased its EC35 battery-electric panel van for the first time at the Festival of Motoring (FoM) in August.
The SMA Summit, a partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Department of Roads and Transport and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), forms part of Transport Month and covers every aspect of the mobility industry, from public transport to electric vehicles, battery technology, GIS, to Urban Logistics.
The Chinese automaker DFSK (Dongfeng Sokon Automobile) is a joint venture between Dongfeng Motor Company and the Chongqing Sokon Industry Group. Following the successful introduction of its popular 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 EC31 bakkie in 2018.
"We are very excited about industry feedback. The biggest drawcard for transport operators is the massive savings on running costs," says Gideon Wolvaardt, Managing Director of Enviro Automotive. "Two of our Gauteng dealers, EnviroWheels and EV Solar Solutions, are showcasing our products at industry shows and exhibitions, and they can't keep up with demonstrations and test drives."
The EC35 is very popular in the last-mile delivery industry in markets where the DFSK brand is represented. It is known for creating huge savings in energy and transportation costs and for its practicality and manoeuvrability in tight parking spots and load bay areas.
The practical load compartment of the two-seater EC35 is accessible via sliding doors on both sides of the panel van and the tailgate, making loading and offloading easy. It 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 EC35 is equipped with a single synchronous electric motor that produces 60 kW and 200 Nm of torque. It features a 38.7 kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery. Charging the battery will cost as little as R56.50 and yield a travel distance of up to 270 km, depending on load and traffic conditions. With a fast charger, the battery could be charged from zero to 80 percent in less than an hour.
The EC35 features ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and Electric Power Steering (EPS). It boasts a selection of modern-day driver comforts, including 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. Minimal maintenance is required, and services are scheduled every 12 months or 20 000 km.
"This summit presents the ideal platform to showcase our new electric panel van to the South African public. With a 25 cents per kilometre operating cost and low service and maintenance bills, our EC35 offers a great opportunity for local transport operators in the last-mile delivery market to address modern-day mobility needs," says Wolvaardt.
"We invite the public to visit the EV Solar Solutions stand (SU9) to learn more about our exciting new panel van and EC31 electric bakkie that will be launched soon," says Wolvaardt.
For more information about Enviro Automotive, visit https://www.enviroauto.co.za/.
For media information, contact our PR Agency:
Intelligent Machine Inc.
082 447 4491