Tiny Eleksa CityBug debuts as SA’s cheapest electric car

Charged up and offering a range of 100km for R15.

Pretoria-based electric vehicle firm, Eleksa, has quietly introduced South Africa’s cheapest new electric car based on the runaway success of the Chinese-market Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.

Renamed the CityBug EV, of which four units touched down on local shores earlier this month, the tiny EV is almost completely unchanged from its Chinese cousin, with the only difference – apart from being a right-hand drive – being the removal of the Wuling badge on the sealed grille.

Measuring just under three metres in overall length and providing seating for four, the 450 kg CityBug, which in Chinese form stems from Wuling parent company SAIC partnering up with General Motors, is powered by six 12-volt batteries that produce a combined four kilowatts.

According to Eleksa, the CityBug, which carries a sticker price of R200 000, has a claimed range of 100 km and top speed of 60 km/h, though plans a longer range version capable of travelling up to 200 km on a single charge will also be offered.

Already available in certain European and South American markets, the CityBug’s compact battery allows it to be charged fully for a mere R15, with Eleksa claiming an overall charging cost of 15 cents per km.

Specification items include a tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, air-conditioning, a digital instrument cluster, electric windows and a sound system with Bluetooth as well as USB.

“It has taken us two years to find an acceptable product and while we acknowledge that a lot needs to be done still, we are getting there. It really is a humble vehicle but demand has been high to the extent that we have already started negotiating for more units,” Eleksa’s director Anton Jordaan told The Citizen.

The mentioned four units are currently on display at Eleksa’s main showroom in Montana, with plans already afoot to bring more models to the country soon.

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