Thula Solutions has partnered with Bloemfontein-based pick-up / bakkie builder Brandt BRV to develop the first South African-made electric 4×4.

The 4×4 is a bespoke product, and is called the Thula Electric Safari Viewer (ESV).

Founder and CEO of Thula Solutions Gary Davies spoke to TopAuto about their plans for the vehicle.

Gary Davies (Founder and CEO of Thula Solutions) said he initially went outside of the country to look at the available technologies to bring his EV ideas to life, but was left unsatisfied with what he found.

On his return to South Africa, Davies began working on his own concept and partnered with BRV to provide the final solution.

Davies said BRV bakkies is looking to supplement its diesel engines with Thula’s electric powertrains going forward, thereby creating the fully-electric 4×4.

The Thula ESV is aimed at enhancing the game drive experience for users, with almost no noise and vibrations compared to the traditional petrol or diesel-powered safari bakkies.

Stringent testing

Unfortunately, there are no public powertrain specifications just yet, but the ESV is said to be highly safe, comfortable, and reliable.

“Stringent battery management protocols and redundancies to leading European standards are part of the design,” reads the ESV page on Thula’s website.

These programmes include real-time monitoring of all engine and battery processes to proactively manage and maximise operating performance.

“The evolution of electric vehicles and their management systems has introduced a new class of strength, control, and versatility. More powerful drivetrains and low centre of gravity provide excellent traction control and torque.”

Additionally, the suspension of the ESV was produced with ride quality in mind – as the vehicle will be used to traverse off-road terrains.

The vehicle also features regenerative braking to reduce wear on braking components, while the electric drivetrain reduces maintenance costs, said Thula.

Depending on the charger, the Thula ESV can be fully charged in two hours – giving you 100km of range.

Fuelling up

Reservations open

According to the ESV website, the vehicle will be supplied on a “fully inclusive rental basis” to clients.

The main running cost is then the price of the electricity needed to charge the vehicles.

“Based on the average cost for electricity and diesel in 2020, you could save up to 75% of your fuel cost for your vehicles,” said Thula.

Deliveries are expected to commence within the coming weeks.

Thula ESV