Driving on solar energy! MINI & Red Bull launch solar charging station in Cape Town

MINI South Africa has teamed up with Red Bull to launch the country’s first MINI solar electric vehicle charging station in Cape Town. The charging station has two connectors, each with a maximum power of 9kW AC. Both connectors are Type 2.

Shaun Willis, head of MINI South Africa, commented: “MINI and Red Bull have a long-standing relationship, forged 17 years ago in California when the first MINIs were converted into the iconic Red Bull MINI. There has always been a strong bond between our brands and this partnership on our first solar charging station is further proof of that in South Africa.”

MINI South Africa says the launch of its first solar-powered charging station is another sign of MINI’s pledge to protect the planet as part of its overarching Big Love brand statement.

Willis added: “True to MINI’s optimistic attitude to life, we are driven by the potential of creative ways to do our part to protect the planet. With the first stand-alone public solar charging installation in Cape Town, together with Red Bull, we demonstrate our commitment to sustainable energy solutions.”

The unveiling took place on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Its partners, the V&A Waterfront, the City of Cape Town and Red Bull South Africa were present at the launch.

To pursue its sustainability goals, MINI announced in 2021 that it would be an all-electric brand by the early 2030s. A total of three new electric models, including the new MINI Cooper Electric, will be launched as part of the new MINI family.

The MINI brand has always been a popular brand in South Africa. It is also very popular with university students and young professionals. When I was at university in Pretoria I remember seeing these Red Bull MINIs (internal combustion engine models at the time) at many events. I used to see them often on campus, driven by some brand ambassadors. It’s great to see these Red Bull MINIs getting some electric models as well.

This got me thinking, the all-electric MINI Cooper SE is currently the most affordable electric car in South Africa, and given that the MINI Cooper is already popular with students and young professionals, it would be great to see charging stations like this solar powered are being installed on college campuses across the country and other places where aspiring professionals like to hang out. Of course, these are not the only target groups for the electric MINI Cooper SE and similar electric vehicles, but it would greatly contribute to raising awareness about electric vehicles in the province in this age group.

I will look forward to more information on these solar charging stations, including information on any on-site stationary battery storage to cover the period during the shutdown and also information on the installed power (kWp) of the PV panels, as well as any plans to add more of these in South Africa. EVs and PV are a match made in heaven and a perfect combination that we need to see more of in more countries on the African continent.

Image courtesy of MINI South Africa

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