The Eleksa CityBug recently became South Africa’s cheapest electric vehicle (EV), on sale for R230,000.
The owner of the first road-legal CityBug in the country took delivery of his in the second week of December – and he has put just over 900km on it by now.
I paid him a visit to find out how his ownership experience has been.
On-road test drive
The owner let me hop into the driver seat when I arrived and we took off on public roads to experience what the CityBug is like out in the world.
For a short trip around Pretoria – which included busy main roads – I felt a bit on edge, but after a few minutes eased up and enjoyed it.
The CityBug’s road-holding abilities were just fine and the cabin was pleasantly quiet, so that you can hear your passenger loud and clear.
The car’s 55km/h top speed (amended from 60km/h), however, was difficult to get used to.
Around the suburbs, the little EV was fun to drive. You feel most bumps with its hard suspension, maneuvering around circles and through blocks is a breeze, and you don’t mind the lack of speed.
On larger roads, though, drivers inch up close behind you or overtake at the first available opportunity – which can become unnerving.
For our 20-minute trip, the owner and I spoke about the CityBug and I got the sense that he really enjoyed it.
While it has its shortcomings, he said instead of making it a drag to quickly go to the shops, it makes it an outing you enjoy.
Since mid-December, he, his wife, and three kids – one who is using the car as a learner vehicle before getting her licence – have been using the CityBug every week.
As of late January, he even used it to take the kids to school and pick them up in the afternoon (yes, all three at the same time).
They are all fond of the EV and he said barely a trip went by without someone taking photos or asking him a question about it – usually thinking it’s the Bajaj Qute.
When it comes to driving range, he has no problems with the 100km on tap.
Plugging the CityBug into a standard plug at home has become as routine as closing the door behind him, and he always starts his trip with a “full tank”.
He has yet to deplete the full range in one day, and said the longest he usually has to charge it is around two hours.
This, he said, has saved him over R1,000 in petrol spend on his Jetta – what he now calls his “7-days-a-year” car.
He holds on to his Jetta as he knows that on occasion – around “seven days a year” – he will need it to go on a holiday or maybe visit a family member in a distant town.
The rest of the time, he plans to use the CityBug.