Heels & Horsepower Magazine

BMW Group Reveals the First Alloy Wheels Made From 100% Recycled Aluminium

The BMW Group is again leading the way in terms of the circular economy with the introduction of the first ever alloy wheels produced entirely from recycled aluminium.

The BMW Group is again leading the way in terms of the circular economy. The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible will be the first series model to be produced with alloy wheels that are made entirely from recycled aluminium.

The light alloy wheels of the fully electric open-top four-seater are a prime example of sustainable resource use, and they represent an important milestone on the road to circular economy for the BMW Group.

The first use of 100 percent secondary aluminium for light-alloy wheels on a series-production vehicle is in cooperation with the wheel manufacturer Ronal. The consistent use of recycled aluminium not only conserves raw material sources, but also eliminates the particularly energy-intensive electrolysis process that is normally necessary to produce light alloys.

With the use of secondary materials that have a carbon footprint of less than 0.16 kg of carbon per kilogram of aluminium, the wheel supplier has been able to reduce carbon emissions at its production facility by up to 75 percent compared to conventionally produced wheels. In concrete terms, this means carbon emissions falling from around 130 kg to around 30 kilograms.

The MINI Cooper SE Convertible is not yet available in South Africa, however the MINI Cooper SE is, at a starting price of R742,102.

The locally available MINI Cooper SE delivers 184 PS (135 kW) and has a top speed of 150km/hr.

10 Ways To Increase Your Electric Vehicle’s Range

As uneasy as it may be to drive a fuel powered vehicle nearing empty, it is even more worrisome to drive with one eye on the state-of-charge gauge of an electric vehicle; hoping to reach the nearest charging station.

Though some of the latest electric vehicles (EVs), can run for more than 400kms on a single charge, range anxiety remains a common consideration for many owners of electric vehicles. 

Thankfully, it is possible to drive further on one charge and add a few more kilometres to your drive with these easy and realistic adjustments to your driving pattern.

  1. Drive Smoothly

Simply put, ‘driving like you stole it’, drains your EV’s battery at an accelerated rate. As tempting as it is to leverage an EV’s instantaneous torque for quick take offs, it’s more prudent to take it easy when accelerating from a standing start.

2. Slow Down

Try to keep your speed at or under 60km/ph whenever possible. You’ll not only avoid getting a speeding ticket, but you’ll bolster your battery range in the process. Engage the “Eco” mode of your EV for gentler acceleration and general driving. Of course, if you EV has “Sport” mode, you’ll have to keep that switched off until you have recharged and are ready for a more lively drive.

3. Maximize Regenerative Braking

Whenever possible, leverage your EV’s energy-recovering regenerative braking function as you come to a stop, and use the brakes only when necessary. Enable your car’s maximum regenerative setting to send extra power back to the vehicle’s batteries while decelerating.

4. Go Easy On The Heat

Running an EV’s heater, especially at full blast, puts a big drain on battery power. In cooler temperatures, dial down the climate control and rather rely on the heated seats and heated steering wheel (if your vehicle is equipped with these creature comforts) to keep things cozy.

5. Be Cool With The AC

Likewise, operating the air conditioning consumes battery power at a quick rate. Try running only the fan, and not the compressor whenever possible; driving with the windows open is an obvious alternative. Unfortunately, the latter will take a toll on your vehicle’s aerodynamics at higher speeds and, in turn, reduce its operating range slightly. That’s because the more aerodynamic “drag” that’s placed on a vehicle, the more energy it takes to run it, especially at higher speeds. Still, operating the AC at full chill will drain the battery far quicker than will driving with the windows down. Again, pre-cool the car in summer months while it’s charging to help reduce the need to run the AC once you hit the road.

6. Tend To The Tyres

Sources suggest that over 25% of all vehicles on the road have improperly inflated tires. As with a conventional vehicle, driving an EV with under-inflated tyres will not only increase its energy consumption, but can lead to uneven and/or premature tread wear. Check the air pressure frequently using a simple tyre gauge, as it can vary by an average of one PSI (pound per square inch) with every 10-degree (Celsius) change in air temperature. Have the tyres properly inflated according to the PSI recommended by the automaker. This information is usually noted on a sticker that’s affixed to the driver’s side door frame or within the fuel cap.

7. Travel Light

As any automotive engineer will tell you, reducing a vehicle’s weight is the easiest way to boost its efficiency. To that end, get the junk out of the trunk, as carrying an additional 45kg of luggage can increase a vehicle’s energy consumption by 1-2% percent.

8. Keep It Slick

Avoid installing exterior accessories like roof racks and cargo carriers on your EV. Again, the aforementioned aerodynamic drag such items create will cause added energy consumption at higher speeds.

9. Plan A More-Efficient Route

It may take less time to get to a given destination by driving on the highway, but you can help maximize your car’s operating range by opting to choose a route that allows you to drive steadily at lower speeds. Avoid high traffic areas, steep gradients and hilly or mountainous areas whenever possible. If your EV has a navigation system that can suggest energy-efficient routes, be sure to use it.

10. Time Your Charge

You may not want to keep your car plugged into its charger whenever it’s in the garage. That’s because most EV batteries will slowly self-discharge when they’ve finished charging. You may be able to recover a few extra miles of range by timing the charge so the battery pack is at full strength just before you hit the road. This can also be advantageous to the battery’s long-term health.

Here Are The Electric Vehicles On Sale In South Africa Right Now

Over the past few years, a number of environmentally friendly vehicles have been launched in South Africa and a few more new models are expected in 2023.

Here is a list of the electric vehicles currently available.

BMW iX3 M Sport

  • Power: 210 kW/400 Nm
  • Maximum range: 460 km
  • Starting Price: R1,306,400

MINI Cooper SE

  • Power: 135 kW/270 Nm
  • Maximum range: 217 km
  • Starting Price: R742,102

Volvo XC40 Recharge

  • Power: 170 kW/330 Nm
  • Maximum range: 423 km
  • Starting Price: R1,075,000

Audi e-tron GT

  • Power: 350 kW/630 Nm
  • Maximum range: 488
  • Starting Price: R2,715,000

Audi RS e-tron GT

  • Power: 440kW/830Nm
  • Range: 472km
  • Starting price: R3,359,400

BMW i7

  • Power: 400kW/745 Nm
  • Maximum range: 625 km
  • Starting Price: R2,825,000

Mercedes-Benz EQB

  • Power: 215 kW/520 Nm
  • Maximum range: 423 km
  • Starting Price: R1,379,000

BMW i4 M50

  • Power: 400 kW/795 Nm
  • Maximum range: 465 km
  • Starting Price: R1,637,900

Mercedes-Benz EQC

  • Power: 300 kW/760 Nm
  • Maximum range: 437 km
  • Starting Price: R1,679,000


  • Power: 240 kW/630 Nm
  • Maximum range: 425 km
  • Starting Price: R1,735,000

Audi e-tron 55 

  • Power: 300 kW/664 Nm
  • Maximum range: 440 km
  • Starting Price: R1,745,000

Porsche Taycan

  • Power: 300 kW/345 Nm
  • Maximum range: 431 km
  • Starting Price: R2,179,000

Jaguar I-Pace

  • Power: 294 kW/696 Nm
  • Maximum range: 470 km
  • Starting Price: R2,249,000

Mercedes-Benz EQS

  • Power: 245 kW/565 Nm
  • Maximum range: 782 km
  • Starting Price: R2,620,500

Audi completes second investment wave into South Africa’s EV charging network

Audi South Africa, in partnership with Rubicon, has brought 43 additional electric vehicle (EV) charging stations online across the country

Audi has installed 76 fast and ultra-fast EV chargers across South Africa. With the latest addition of chargers, the total number of DC and AC charging connectors contributed by Audi now stands at 127.

These chargers can accommodate a total of 57 EV cars simultaneously, at varying capacities, regardless of model or brand ownership. This is in addition to the brand’s contribution of 70 EV charging connection points nationwide a year ago, when Audi was the first to bring ultra-fast chargers to South Africa.

The latest rollout includes the very first DC 200kW ultra-fast charger in South Africa, which is installed at the largest shopping mall ever built in a single phase – Mall of Africa – enabling compatible cars to ultra-fast charge.

The EV battery of an e-tron GT can be recharged within 15 minutes*. The solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed at Mall of Africa is one of the largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere, making this installation a progressive statement towards sustainable charging.

EVs are the future of mobility and we’re investing not just in hardware infrastructure, but in making electric mobility simpler and more widely available for South Africans

Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi South Africa

The rest of this second phase of infrastructure investment comprises four 100kW (DC), eight 60kW (DC), five 25kW (DC) and twenty-five 22kW (AC) fast EV charger installations at convenient locations across the country to serve all EV customers. The commissioning of the first and second phase of charging infrastructure means that Audi and partners GridCars and Rubicon, have installed 76 fast and ultra-fast EV chargers across South Africa, representing about 28% of public charging stations in the country.

“The rollout of our second phase of EV charging stations is the next step in realising our vision of sustainable mobility and living our mantra that the ‘Future is an Attitude’,” says Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi South Africa. “EVs are the future of mobility and we’re investing not just in hardware infrastructure, but in making electric mobility simpler and more widely available for South Africans, thus enabling the local EV market to grow. By fulfilling our promise from early 2022, we’re demonstrating our commitment to helping take SA into the future of mobility”.

The partnership between Audi, GridCars and Rubicon includes a roaming agreement, which allows billing cards to be interoperable across the two networks, making charging even easier, seamless and accessible for Audi e-tron customers and users of other EV brands.

Local availability of more and more EVs, coupled with the increase in fossil fuel costs, will be a major catalyst for EV adoption in South Africa

Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi South Africa

Greg Blandford, Director of Rubicon Energy & E-mobility, says that as public interest in EVs grows, so will the drive to integrate charging infrastructure, renewable energy and energy storage systems. “Rubicon is fully immersed and committed to the advancement of renewable energy and deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in South Africa.

With a range between 350 and 480km the Audi e-tron models typically do not require a charge every day

Sascha Sauer, Head of Audi South Africa

The global adoption of artificial intelligence, smart devices, greener technologies and carbon reduction initiatives has highlighted and accelerated the adoption of electric vehicles. Local availability of more and more EVs, coupled with the increase in fossil fuel costs, will be a major catalyst for EV adoption in South Africa,” he says.

“While load shedding is a reality to which South Africans have become accustomed, it is worth pointing out that our charging network also capitalises on solar installations, where possible, to keep the charging stations optimally operational,” says Sauer. “With a range between 350 and 480km the Audi e-tron models typically do not require a charge every day, so depending on driving style and daily commuting distances, owners will be able to find their nearest charging station and charge their vehicles regularly, with ease”.

The newly added 43 chargers are spread across the provinces as follows:

W Cape11
E Cape10
Free State1

All 76 Audi-branded charging stations are part of the charging network that can be accessed here: https://www.chargestations.co.za/oemportal/audi/