The Renault-Nissan Alliance Brings EVs to South Africa for COP17


, DURBAN, South Africa

The Renault-Nissan Alliance Brings EVs to South Africa for COP17

This is the first time mass-produced electric cars have been used on African streets. And the catalyst for this potentially world-changing event? The 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP17, in Durban, South Africa.

The fleet of zero-emission Nissan and Renault vehicles is being used to shuttle delegates to and from the conference.

“We’re here to demonstrate that zero-emission vehicles are a real and affordable solution for reducing CO2 emission,” says Mia Nielsen of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. “These cars are also extremely easy to use and extremely easy to recharge. In fact, with an EV you will never need to go to a gasoline station ever again — you can simply charge from the comfort of your own home.”

This 17th conference on climate change aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

That’s an aim that could be considerably helped by the wider acceptance and use of zero-emission vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF, due in South Africa in 2013, or Renault’s new Fluence — two of the most affordable electric cars ever produced.

South Africa has set its sights on being the continent’s leader in clean-energy generation with ambitious plans for one of the world’s biggest solar-power plants.

Electric vehicles could also be a big part of South Africa’s low-emission future, says Renault-Nissan’s Nielsen.

“Climate change is a global issue and South Africa and other countries are working to reduce its CO2 footprint,” she says. “Our cars are 100% electric, which means they’re zero emission and neutral to the environment. These cars can also be charged using various renewable-energy sources such as solar and wind power and, therefore, this is a great opportunity for South Africa to reduce its CO2 footprint.”

Adds Peter Lukey of South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs:

“One of things we did was model what the impact of electric vehicles were. Even if we look at electric vehicles and a coal-fired grid, there is a carbon saving simply because the energy is being developed right at the point where the vehicle is operating and it also means you can charge your electric vehicle at off-peak time.

That means you can balance your load and, even if they’re coal-fired power stations they’re running evenly and far more energy efficient. We’ve found that there’s a massive decrease in carbon emissions just by looking at electric vehicles.”

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