Electric car garages: the way of the future?

With the ever-rising fuel prices, the thought of trading in your powerful gas-guzzler for an eco-friendly electric car is becoming all the more enticing – and property developers are beginning to make this decision even easier.

“Especially since the eco-estate trend has seen such a popular uptake, many of the more upmarket housing developments are beginning to offer homes with built-in charge stations in the garages. We foresee this trend growing in line with the increase demand for electric vehicles in South Africa,” says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“Depending on the brand and capabilities of the chargers, home installations can cost from R9 000 to R25 000. The actual electrical installation costs anything between R4 000 and R8 000. The variation in cost usually depends on the distance to the distribution board and the extent of any civils work needed. Finding a home that already has built-in chargers will save homeowners a sizable amount of cash, and will increase the value of a home once the demand for these vehicles aligns with global trends.

“In Amsterdam, almost all homeowners park their cars at electric parking spots. At Ikea in Vienna, the parking lot has plug points for electric cars, so you can park and charge your car while shopping. We are not quite there yet. This trend might take a while to pick up in SA. Currently, there are only a few electric cars on our roads as they are often too expensive, and their engines aren’t as powerful as petrol or diesel vehicles. For now, the trend is likely to be adopted only by the wealthier or more environmentally conscious who live in upmarket developments,” says Gerlinde Moser, of RE/MAX Living operating within the Atlantic seaboard and City Bowl suburbs.

Winstone Jordaan, managing director of Grid Cars, an electric vehicle company leading South Africa’s Green Mobility Revolution, says the firm has already started discussions with some developers about including charge points in upmarket homes.

Jordaan is also dealing with many property management groups that are hoping to roll out charge points at their public facilities in the near future. Perhaps the days of charging stations at commercial parking lots are not too far off for South Africans.

“As difficult as it is to imagine a day when our roads will be filled with electric vehicles, global trends forecast that this will one day be the way of the future. We predict that as this trend picks up locally, more and more houses will have built-in charging stations for electric vehicles,” Goslett concludes.