Not so long ago more than a third of cars were electric. When gasoline was discovered, this changed, with petrol cars dominating roads for over a century. For a while a future – or a return to the past – without petrol cars was mere science fiction. Now, one in seven cars sold is electric, according to the World Economic Forum. With more electric cars on the market, at more affordable prices, we’re going back to the past fast.
Among the most affordable electric vehicles on the market is the new Volvo C40, which is the first of Volvo’s fully-electric cars. The small SUV packs a punch in its compact size, streamlined shape, and 444km range. Its fully-electric engine means it emits zero carbon emissions when driven. The car’s environmentally conscious design doesn’t end with clean driving. The vehicle has a leather-free interior using recycled plastic or responsibly sourced wool textiles for the interior that give the same feel and luxury of real leather without hurting the planet.
The Twyg team recently had the opportunity to test drive the Volvo C40. The car is nothing short of a vision from the future. With its sleek exterior and pared-down simplicity, the iridescent blue C40 exudes a sense of luxury.
The new Volvo ditches the fumbly business of start buttons or ignition keys and switches on the moment you sit on the driver’s seat. Its electric engine offers instant torque (in other words, accelerates immediately) that allows for one-pedal drive – simply lift your foot off the accelerator to safely stop or slow down the car. Other ease-of-use features include hands-free navigation connected to Google assist as well as parking assist.
“We worked exceptionally hard to set [the car’s] pricing at what is unquestionably an extremely competitive level, granting South African consumers the opportunity to own a fully-electric SUV for the price of a similarly sized internal combustion engine vehicle,” says Greg Maruszewski, managing director at Volvo Car South Africa in a press release.
Globally, electric cars sales are growing rapidly with 2.3 million electric cars sold in the first quarter of this year, reports the International Energy Agency. Many governments are offering incentives to encourage consumers to switch to electric. For now, in South Africa import duties on electric vehicles are set at 25%, as opposed to petrol cars, which are set at 18%, according to News24. With the practical hiccup of loadshedding and price, South Africans are still cautious, Business Tech reports. Despite these challenges, most car brands, including Volvo, are introducing stylish electric vehicles with improved range at more affordable prices.
Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, and overall electric vehicles emit far fewer emissions throughout their lifetime compared to petrol cars according, to a study by the US Department of Energy.
You’re probably thinking: Do electric vehicles make a difference if they use electricity generated from fossil fuels? Of course, to have a truly green automotive industry, the national energy grid should be supplying renewable energy only. But according to the Volvo Car South Africa team, most people who own electric cars in South Africa opt to charge their cars at home, because it’s cheaper than charging at a public charging station. With widespread loadshedding – and no promise to when this will end – many South African homeowners are investing in solar panels, and using this solar energy to charge their cars.
Going electric doesn’t only apply to cars. Golden Arrow buses are planning to introduce solar-powered buses that makes greener travel more accessible for everyone.
If you’re in the market for a new car, prepare for the future and switch to an electric vehicle which will take us all one step closer to transitioning to a net-zero world.
Twyg assistant editor, Stella Hertantyo, in front of the Volvo C40 Recharge, with flowers from Jaftha’s flower farm, Cape Town
- This is not a sponsored post, but the Twyg team was given the opportunity to test drive the new all electric Volvo C40 Recharge.
- Images: Photos taken by Nabeela Karim during our test drive and supplied by Volvo SA