How much money I saved driving Volvo’s most affordable electric car

By using the electric Volvo EX30 instead of a petrol car for my daily driving, I saved about R182 a week in travelling costs.

Volvo Cars South Africa provided MyBroadband with a top-specced version of its recently launched Volvo EX30 to test out for a few months.

From Monday to Friday, I used the car to travel between our home in Pretoria East and the office in Centurion. For an optimal start to the week, I charged the car to 100% on the preceding Sunday.

Every evening during the week, when I stopped at home, I plugged the car into a regular three-prong socket and used an AC charging connector to top it up. EV owners will likely invest in a fixed connector supporting higher charging speeds.

The lowest level the EX30’s battery reached in the week was 84% on a Wednesday. On that day, I drove a bit further because of a visa appointment, bringing the total distance travelled to an above-average 67.5km.

The start of the EX30’s Wednesday evening battery topup.

The EX30’s built-in AC charging power control allowed me to set the times I would like to charge the car and the maximum amount of current it should pull.

On the first night, I set this to the maximum 16A that a regular three-prong socket can support.

The car’s onboard computer showed the maximum current actually pulled was around 12A, working out to 2.9kW of power.

The EX30 was charged back to full by 22:50, around three hours and 15 minutes after plugging in.

Having confirmed the quick recharging time at the maximum speed with a relatively rudimentary charging connector, I experimented with lower power settings over the next two evenings.

Had load-shedding been implemented, I would have increased the charging current and could have easily charged to full in all cases, even with stage 6 load-shedding.

The table below shows how long it took to charge the EX30 to full using various charging current settings.

Volvo EX30 weekday recharging example
Day and date Start time and end time Total charging time Maximum charging power (current) Starting battery level 
Monday, 6 May 2024 19:35—22:50 03:15 2.9kW (12A) 91%
Tuesday, 7 May 2024 18:10—02:15 08:05 1.1kW (6A) 93%
Wednesday, 8 May 2024 18:10—01:35 07:25 2.1kW (10A) 84%
Thursday, 9 May 2024 18:05—01:25 07:20 1.1kW (6A) 93%
Friday, 10 May 2024 17:10—03:05 09:55 1.1kW (6A) 91%
Charging the EX30 off our home’s power using an AC connector cable provided by EV Charge.

Over the five days, my relatively heavy-footed driving recorded an average consumption of 19.8kWh/100km.

I consumed about 41.77kWh of electricity during the week to cover 207.8km in the EX30. On the Prepaid Block 2 tariff in the City of Tshwane, the highest tariff we use, this electricity cost R135.69.

I calculated that travelling the same distance in my own Kia Sonet 1.5 LX would have required 12.47 litres of petrol, costing R317.81.

Using my daily average of 41.56km, quite close to Numbeo’s 44km two-way commuting average for South African motorists, I also estimated how much I could save with a month’s driving.

Electric recharging vs petrol refuelling costs — 207.8km in 5-day commute
Volvo EX30 — 19.8kWh/100km Kia Sonet 1.5 LX petrol — 6ℓ/100km
Price per kWh/litre R3.25 (Tshwane Prepaid Block 2 tariff) R25.49 (May 2024 unleaded 95 price)
Total kWh/litres consumed in week 41.77kWh 12.47
Total work week cost R135.69 R317.81
Total estimated kWh/litres consumed in month 246.87kWh 74.81
Total estimated monthly cost R802.33 R1,906.86

Many readers might be anxious to point out that the EX30 is substantially more expensive than my Sonet and making up the difference with savings on fuel would be an exercise in futility.

However, that would not be fair to the EX30, as it is substantially more powerful and luxurious than the Sonet.

With 315kW and acceleration from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds, the EX30 twin motor is the most powerful and quickest-accelerating car in South Africa for under R1 million.

The more affordable single-motor version is also the quickest-accelerating car in the country for under R800,000.

In both cases, petrol-powered vehicles with similar performance would be more expensive, which means that any fuel savings become a net benefit.

The savings are also likely to be greater, as petrol cars with performance closer to the EX30 will have far worse fuel efficiency than the Sonet.

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How much money I saved driving Volvo’s most affordable electric car