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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

WATCH: South Africa’s cheapest new electric car and bakkie debut

Made in China, four derivatives are available priced from R199 900.

With emphasis continuing to be placed on electric vehicles despite the lack of government supported incentives as well as the worsening energy crisis, EV.Africa, has becomes the latest to enter the EV scene with its range of City Blitz urban electric vehicles.

Watch the City Blitz range walkaround below

Price and range

Set to be distributed by Combined Motor Holdings (CHM) through 11 outlets located in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, the City Blitz range comprise four models; a two-seater that becomes South Africa’s cheapest electric vehicle priced at R199 900, a four-seater stickered at R239 900, a bakkie also priced at R239 900 and a panel van that requires parting with R249 900.

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Based on the Jiayuan City Spirit made in China, and aimed at intercity travels as per their classification as quadracycles rather than proper cars, all four City Blitz models are powered by a single 10-kWh battery located underneath the seats that produce 7.5 kW.

City Blitz priced as South Africa's cheapest EV
Four-seat City Blitz carries a R239 900 sticker price.

Able to reach a top speed of 80 km/h and travel 160 km on a single charge, 150 km in the case of the bakkie and van, the City Blitz is only chargeable from a traditional household socket and according to EV.Africa, will require a waiting time of between four to six hours.

What is it?

City Blitz priced as South Africa's cheapest EV
Cute bakkie and van have a payload of 300 kg and have space for a single Euro pallet.

Constructed out of a steel monocoque cage, all four models weigh less than 640 kg without the driver, and ride on 12-inch wheels while utilising a MacPherson independent suspension design at the front and trailing arm at the rear.

City Blitz priced as South Africa's cheapest EV
Aimed at small fleets and businesses, the City Blitz has a claimed range of 150 km.

In the case of the bakkie and panel van, a payload of 300 kg is rated, along with the capacity to transport a single Euro pallet.

Unsurprisingly small as per the quadracycle regulations in China and Europe, the City Blitz two and four seater measure 2 242 mm long, 1 290 mm wide and 1 570 mm with a wheelbase of 1 500 mm.

Comforts of the EV.Africa new electric vehicle
Interior of the four-seater offers seating at the rear on a bench seat.

Dimensions for the panel van and bakkie are slightly larger at 3 150 mm, 1 297 mm and 1 685 mm respectively, with the wheelbase stretching 2 300 mm.

The respective loadbox measurements in terms of length, height and width is 1 380 mm x 1 000 mm x 1 200 mm.

You still need a licence

Comforts of the EV.Africa new electric vehicle
Tiny interior isn’t devoid of features, but lacks airbags or ABS.

In spite of their cutesy looks, all four City Blitz derivatives are stocked with air-conditioning, electric windows, an LCD audio system with two-speakers, Bluetooth and USB, LED daytime running lights and even a glass roof with a provided shade cover.

Given its market clientele and unsuitability for highway driving, the City Blitz lacks any form of safety system such as airbags or ABS, though it does receive four corner hydraulic disc brakes as standard, plus inertia real seatbelts.

Comforts of the EV.Africa new electric vehicle
All City Blitz modes receive a LCD infotainment system as standard. Note the umbrella-style underneath the dashboard.

Unlike legislation in some European markets pertaining to quadracycles, piloting the City Blitz in South Africa still requires a valid driver’s licence regardless of age.

The drive

And piloting the tiny tyke, regardless of bodystyle, is something of a surreal experience for drivers more use to a traditional car, bakkie or van.

That being said, the short drive, literally around the block in Pretoria this week, was still fun as, unsurprisingly, the City Blitz accelerates with a great deal of verve until tampering off once passed 50 km/h.

EV.Africa prices City Blitz EV range
A three-pin plug and traditional household socket is the only way to charge the City Blitz.

Stability wasn’t an issue either and neither was the steering that has power assistance, but without feeling overly light or lifeless.

In fact, the main drawbacks, again expected, is the tiny cabin that requires some leg contortions to operate the off-centre pedals, isn’t exactly elbow or leg friendly for two adults seated side-by-side, and comes with seats offering limited backrest adjustment, especially in the bakkie and panel van.

EV.Africa prices City Blitz EV range
City Blitz is made in China and will do 80 km/h flat-out.

However, given their immediate focus and intent of usage, faulting the City Blitz will be akin to unfair knit-picking as neither quartet are designed to travel the same distances and at the same speed with comparative comfort as a Renault Kwid or Suzuki S-Presso.

Now available through leisure shops and in a variety of colours, all four City Blitz models are covered by a four-year/60 000 km warranty.

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