THE Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) has purchased six electric vehicles from Chinese carmaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) Zimbabwe. The vehicles and the charging infrastructure are now at the CMED Harare depot.
BYD Zimbabwe is a subsidiary of Tsapo Group companies specialising in affordable solar power, reliable energy storage and electrified transportation.
Some of the cars are now being used at its driving school, EasyGo, and the rest as shuttle cars at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
BYD Zimbabwe, with its offices at 31 Airport Road in Hatfield, produces cars, buses, trucks, electric bicycles, forklifts and rechargeable batteries.
CMED managing director Davison Mhaka has since presented the cars to Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona and there are plans to buy more electric cars.
Mhaka said using electric vehicles has a number of advantages, including that they are environmentally friendly, electricity is a renewable resource unlike petrol or diesel, they are less expensive and require less maintenance and are quieter than internal combustion engines.
BYD has become the first company to introduce brand new electric vehicles in Zimbabwe. On offer are two types of vehicles: a van and a sedan. The company is also selling the new BYD E6 with the revolutionary Blade Battery. BYD will also be selling electric buses and several other BYD models that are available in Right Hand Drive.
Electric vehicles are likely to take over from petroleum-fuelled vehicles across the world over the next two decades, a move partly driven by their own advantages and partly by the need for major reductions in carbon emissions globally. Internal combustion engines are not very efficient, while electric motors and electric power stations are.
Even if the electricity is generated from fossil fuels, there is a dramatic cut in carbon emissions and as more and more electricity comes from green sources such as hydro-power, solar and wind, the carbon footprint from transport continues to be slashed.
Zimbabwe spends USD $1.2 billion annually on petrol and diesel imports. This is a lot of money for a country that regularly experiences petrol shortages due to chronic foreign currency shortages
The rise of the lithium ion battery, now used in many consumer electronics such as mobile phones and laptops, has finally provided a viable battery for electric vehicles. The global switch-over to electric cars will benefit Zimbabwe directly, since the country has abundant lithium ore deposits.