Nissan has entered into a three-year research project with Eskom that will involve testing the Nissan Leaf, the Japanese vehicle manufacturer’s electric car, in South Africa.
The project comes as Nissan South Africa prepares to launch the Leaf in South Africa, becoming the first commercially available fully electric vehicle (EV) on sale in the country. The Leaf will be launched later this year.
Nissan South Africa director Johan Kleynhans says a full launch of EVs, including the Leaf, in South Africa is subject to finalisation of government legislation, but Nissan’s intent to launch the vehicle for sale before year-end.
The company has sold 60 000 Leaf vehicles worldwide, with the car available in Japan, the US and Europe. It was first introduced in 2010. The 2013 model has a range of up to 200km before it has to be recharged.
The deal with Eskom follows pilot programmes to promote public awareness with the department of environmental affairs and the Technology Innovation Agency with a view to creating a commercially viable infrastructure for the use of EVs in South Africa, Nissan says.
Nissan South Africa has handed over 10 Leaf vehicles to Eskom, which will be managed by Avis Fleet Services.
Kleynhans says the outcome of the research project with Eskom will have “long-term implications for the development of the entire EV industry”.
“Eskom has been doing EV research for several years with the intention of understanding the impact of EVs on our grid,” says Eskom GM for research testing and development Barry MacColl. “We also want to understand usage patterns and charging characteristics of the cars themselves in order to design grid solutions and tariffs.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media