LETTER: By plugging into ePrix, Cape Town will see considerable financial benefits
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The ePrix is coming to Cape Town within a few months from now. Council approved R4 million to enable civil engineering works to proceed in the Green Point area to prepare the circuit.
Upgrade will cost in the region of R44m. Council will also be waiving fees for the organisers to host the event (Read more: “City of Cape Town plans to spend R44m on upgrades in Green Point for Formula-E”).
The Transport Directorate will also be deferring some of its repair work on some roads.
In my speech I urged the council to explore direct financial benefits accruing to the City. The benefits to the economy of Cape Town will, however, be quite considerable.
What can the City do to ensure that the gains are both to the council as well as to businesses in Cape Town?
First, the council should encourage event organisers to host an Electric Auto Car Fair in the style of the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, better known as Auto China. It is extremely important to create massive hype around E-mobility.
COP 26, which is meeting in Glasgow in November this year, is going to reach an international agreement for faster and more massive reduction of carbon emission. As the climate emergency intensifies, many nations have experienced heat waves, droughts and deluges like never before.
The days of the car with an internal combustion engine are coming to an end. This will happen faster than anyone expected because of the existential threat we as humans are now facing.
The hosting of the ePrix will therefore be a great opportunity for the City to make a pitch to manufacturers to invest in our city. Tesla has been interested for a while in battery manufacture here. What can the City do?
Four things should be at the top of its list: first, it should seek via a public-private participation process to establish numerous charging stations.
The simplest way to encourage the spread of electric mobility is to make charging easier. Stockholm City Council, for instance, allows companies that install charging columns on public property to do so at no cost, while Oslo City Council manages a network of charging points and is involved in other public-private projects.
Cities in China, Japan, the USA and elsewhere are racing ahead with e-mobility. They have seen the writing on the wall.
Second, the City should start replacing its own ICE fleet with electric vehicles, and third, it should invest in electric buses rapidly. Where possible, it should retrofit the buses it now has to make them electric operated.
Third, the City should disclose its policy on e-mobility at the start of the ePrix to get a global audience.
There is no choice in the matter. It is a dire necessity that we take note of what is happening in country after country and start adapting at speed. Time is not on our side.
* Farouk Cassim, Cope. Century City.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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