The CityBug, SA's Cheapest EV
Could the Eleksa CityBug EV lead SA’s electric car revolution?
All around the world, electric cars are making their presence felt and consumers are opting for these vehicles thanks to their concerns about the environment.
Locally, the electric car market is dominated by a handful of big brands with big brand price tags. Well, that is all about to change thanks to a little company called Eleksa who are based in Pretoria. Eleksa specialises in the importation of electric ATVs, bikes and trikes, scooters, and mobility vehicles but in 2021, they ventured into new territory with the introduction of their first car, the CityBug.
The CityBug is an imported light motor vehicle that is powered by a rear-mounted brushless 4kW differential motor that is fed by a LiFeP04 72V 124h battery. This “powerplant” gives the CityBug a top speed of 60km/h and a range of 100km. Now I know that this may not sound impressive but the CityBug is not a long-range cruiser that you drive down to the coast with every December. This is an urban vehicle designed for commuting to work, the shops and fetching the kids from school.
Size-wise, the CityBug measures 2960mm long, 1480mm wide and 1520mm tall and weighs in at 625kg with 155/70R12 tyres at all four corners. Despite its diminutive size, the car does provide seating for four occupants including the driver.
On the style front, the CityBug’s styling is clean and modern with large expanses of glass, a two-tone colour scheme, and you can choose your CityBug in one of colours, red, white, yellow and blue.
Under the skin, the CityBug’s backbone is a steel frame that uses MacPherson independent suspension in front while the back-end uses a trailing arm rear axle. To bring the CityBug to a halt, the front axle is equipped with a set of disc brakes and the rear uses drums.
On the inside, the CityBug is far better looking and far better equipped than other “microcars” on the market like the petrol-powered Bajaj Qute. I do like the tablet-style infotainment system on the centre console and the rotary “gear selector” on the centre console. Still, on the inside, the CityBug is equipped with an aircon, sound system, USB ports, central locking, reverse camera, electric windows, digital instrument cluster, Bluetooth connectivity, Google Maps navigation, android tablet infotainment system, and an emergency cut-off switch.
When it comes to pricing, the CityBug will cost you R230,000.00 which is a far cry from the next cheapest electric car in the market, the MINI Cooper SE which starts at R658,000.
That price is extremely impressive in electric car terms, but it prices the CityBug ahead of petrol-powered models like the Suzuki Swift which starts at R184,900 or the Renault Kwid from R150,000, cars which are ultimately more usable. Where the CityBug comes out on top though is on running cost, with a full charge estimated to be R15.00.
So, would I buy a CityBug? If I had the money, yes. I think it makes the perfect second car for daily running around and warrants the ownership of something big and brash which you can enjoy on the weekend.