South Africa launches green car project
27 February 2013
A project to pilot and test the feasibility of electric vehicles and associated
supporting infrastructure in South African conditions was launched by Environmental
Affairs Minister Edna Molewa in Pretoria on Tuesday.
It is a multi-stakeholder partnership between primary partners Nissan South Africa
and the Environmental Affairs Department, with support from the Departments of
Trade and Industry, Transport, Energy, Science and Technology, Eskom and the
South African Revenue Services.
"The fundamental motivation for embarking on this project is the urgent need for
South Africa to transition to a job creating, sustainable, low-carbon and green
economy as clearly outlined in the National Development Plan," Molewa said.
The automotive sector is one of South Africa's most carbon-intensive, currently
accounting for approximately 20% of emissions; it is also the third-largest contributor
to air pollution in
South Africa is a major player in the industry and is the 18th largest manufacturer of
vehicles in the world, representing 80% of Africa's vehicle output, according to
The need to move towards a more energy-efficient economy presents opportunities
for the country, Molewa said.
'Becoming an engine of development'
"The transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy can create large numbers
of green jobs across many sectors of the economy and indeed can become an engine
of development," she said.
"To this end the government has already put in place policies to enable this
transition that is pro-development, pro-poor and pro-job creation."
These include the national climate change response policy, the Public Enterprise
Department's guidelines for state-owned enterprises, and the electric
vehicle industry strategy by the Department of Trade and Industry.
"This electric vehicle
prepares for the future transition into design
and production of alternative propulsion systems in order to maintain or increase
South Africa's global market share in the automotive sector while still responding to
its commitment to decrease its carbon footprint," she said.
The green car partnership will be informed by the strategy.
The initial phase of the project involves four Nissan Leaf test cars being dispatched
to the Environmental Affairs Department for three years.
"The Leaf is the world's first mass-produced electric vehicle, which will be launched
later this year in South Africa by Nissan as the first car manufacturer to introduce a
100% electric vehicle into the country," Molewa said.
The cars are charged at dual-grid connection charging stations. Looking at the
viability of the charging stations and other necessary supporting infrastructure is
part of the green car project.
cars is done with a solar tracking
device, and the department has just
completed the installation of a 15-kilowatt device at its green building in Pretoria.
"It is envisaged that in future these tracking devices will be installed on the major
commuter routes for the direct charging of vehicles in real time," she said.
"An e-transport location analysis will be conducted in partnership with other
government agencies, to inform the roll-out of the solar e-cars installation package
at key transportation and commuter hubs countrywide, such as key government
precincts, Gautrain stations, OR Tambo, key commercial centres and business