South Africa’s Rubicon Group enables transformative sustainable and industrial technologies across the energy and manufacturing sectors in Africa and other emerging markets. Via its sustainable technology division, Rubicon’s energy, electric mobility, building management, and lighting solutions are enabling homes, businesses, and factories to adopt sustainable, connected, and automated solutions underpinned by renewable energy generation and storage. Rubicon has recently opened an office in my favorite city — Nairobi, Kenya.
Rubicon’s energy division is also the regional distributor of the Tesla Powerwall. Greg Blandford, Director Rubicon Energy and E-Mobility, says demand for the Powerwall has been exceptional so far. Rubicon is looking to expand its Tesla energy products offering in the near future. Rubicon is not just an importer and distributor of products but also develops solutions in collaboration with its local and international partners to make sure that its portfolio is made up of products and service informed by local needs and is the best fit for the African market from both a price and a quality perspective. Having this local knowledge also helps it develop its own products and solutions to fill the gaps and requirements of clients in South Africa and the region.
Rubicon is also focusing heavily on building solutions that will enable its clients on the continent to harness the potential in digitalization. As part of this process, Rubicon is building online platforms to support the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) division of its solar business. The company is also investing heavily in its ability to service the electric mobility market by ensuring it has a full offering consisting of hardware, a central management platform, and associated support services.
So, Rubicon is really going big in the electric vehicle market in South Africa and ultimately the rest of the continent, which is something we really like to see. It is already a distributor of electric vehicle supply equipment — EVSEs — in South Africa. Rubicon Energy is the agent for Delta, EVBox, and EO Charging products in South Africa and now also plans to supercharge the transition to electric vehicles in South Africa and the region by rolling out its own electric vehicle charging infrastructure/network there. The first 30 charging stations are expected to be up and running by Q4 this year.
Rubicon’s network will focus initially on the overnight charging market at destinations such as hotels and therefore its rollout will focus only on AC chargers up to 22 kW. Underserved routes such as South Africa’s famous Garden Route. Starting with destination charging where one is not in a hurry to charge allows charge point operators a viable entry point without investing too much as compared to the significant investments for Level 3 charging infrastructure. Starting with 22 kW AC charging also allows operators to roll out faster and cover more areas in a short space of time, enabling EV drivers to take road trips to more areas around South Africa. Although Tesla’s vehicles are not yet on sale in South Africa, Rubicon had the honor of bringing in the first ever Tesla vehicle to South Africa, a Model X P 100 D. Rubicon is using the Model X to raise awareness of electric vehicles. The Model X is also a star attraction at its product road shows and exhibitions in shopping malls as it promotes stationary storage products such as the Powerwall.
EVs and PVs are a match made in heaven, especially here in Africa. Rubicon’s energy and e-mobility division is also looking unlock these synergies in a big way in the near future by working with several partners to roll out large forecourts incorporating solar PV, battery storage, and charging stations.
All images courtesy of Rubicon