SA arms maker launches electric buses and scooters – with solar-powered charging stations

Rheinmetall Denel Munition Electric Bus (Supplied Image)

  • Rheinmetall, the German-headquartered auto and weapons maker, wants to be carbon neutral by 2035.
  • To do this in South Africa, its subsidiary, Rheinmetall Denel Munition, is gradually abandoning internal combustion vehicles and replacing them with electric alternatives.
  • Electric buses have recently been introduced at the company’s Somerset West and Boskop factories.
  • Electric scooters, bicycles and “e-bakkies”, which will be used to transport employees around the facilities, are also part of the plan.
  • These electric vehicles will be recharged by solar terminals already installed.
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South African arms manufacturer Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) is introducing electric vehicles and solar-powered charging stations at its facilities to reduce its carbon footprint.

Rheinmetall, the Germany-based auto and armament manufacturer, which is the majority owner of RDM in South Africa, wants to be carbon neutral by 2035. To achieve this climate-conscious goal, the company is investing in vehicles electric and solar power in installations around the world, including South Africa.

The first phase of this process in South Africa will see more than 350 internal combustion vehicles removed from the RDM fleet and replaced with electric alternatives.

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The company recently introduced electric buses at its Somerset West and Boskop factories. Electric scooters, bicycles and “e-bakkies”, which will be used for transport around the factories, are also part of the plan. These new electric vehicles were recently unveiled by Jan Patrick Helmsen, CEO of RDM, at the Somerset West plant.

“As part of the Rheinmetall organization, which has set itself the goal of being climate neutral by 2035, RDM supports this ambitious goal with a master plan that involves the implementation of solar energy and ‘green hydrogen, which along with other projects in the renewable energy field, are intended to lead to climate neutrality,’ Helmsen said.

“An important milestone here is our move away from the internal combustion engine in our vehicle fleet, with an all-new mobility concept across all four RDM sites in South Africa.”

Replacing internal combustion vehicles with electric alternatives just for the purpose of getting around RDM’s facilities is significant considering the company occupies 5,000 hectares of land in South Africa. RDM employees could soon book a bus or electric car ride from individual locations at the facilities through an already existing “app-based system”, the company said in a statement Monday.

Electric vehicles Rheinmetall Denel Munition with

Rheinmetall Denel Munition e-bike (Supplied image)

The e-scooters and bikes, RDM explained, “will work much the same way as a bike rental system in major European cities and elsewhere, where a bike can be reserved and picked up at a specific station and then dropped off. then at any other charging station.”

These solar-powered electronic charging stations, which have already been installed at RDM factories, allow bicycles and scooters to be charged without drawing power from the country’s beleaguered grid.

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