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SA headed for electric car era?

2013-08-23 14:10

GREENER SA IN THE WORKS: With looming environmental taxes, vehicle fleets in SA will have to resort to lowering their emissions through greener vehicles, such as Nissan’s Leaf. Image: Nissan

Avis Fleet Services delivered the first fleet of battery-powered vehicles to the South Africas’s  electricity provider. is this the beginning of a new era?

The vehicles, ten Nissan Leaf models, will be among the first production electric vehicles to be launched in South Africa and, simultaneously, the first to be supplied by a fleet management company in the industry.


Clive Else, chief executive of Avis Fleet Services (AFS), said: “This follows an agreement between Nissan SA and Avis Fleet Services. Unlike other environmentally-friendly vehicles in South Africa, which are hybrids and rely on a combination of battery power and petrol to deliver fuel savings, the Nissan Leaf is the first 100% electrically powered vehicle to land on South Africa’s shores.

"The delivery of the first 10 units to AFS is taking place less than two years after the vehicle’s launch in the Japanese, American and selected European markets where more than 60 000 units have already been sold.”

Mike Whitfield, managing director of Nissan South Africa, said: “The Leaf is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery that offers a range of up to 160 km on a single charge and delivers a top speed of up to 145 km/h. It is totally environment friendly producing zero emissions, something we believe will make the vehicle attractive to fleet owners, particularly local subsidiaries of international companies that report on carbon emissions.

“It is also a viable alternative for companies looking for vehicles to operate in a congested urban environment with high stop-start operating and idling costs and where range is not a factor.”


It is expected the interest of fleet owners in viable ‘green’ transport solutions will grow as fuel costs increase and government works towards its stated national objective of reducing South Africa’s emission footprint by 34% by the year 2030.

There are also anticipated savings through the EV application as a result of changed driver behaviour. The initial research from these vehicles will form a fundamental part of this pioneering pilot to assist Avis Fleet Services in better guiding the fleet management industry on these potential benefits in the months ahead.

Else said: “Electric vehicle technology will become more applicable and desirable to corporate fleet operators, as government moves steadily towards introducing formal carbon tax levies across all vehicle segments by 2015. Government’s steps represent a positive stride in better understanding this technology helping to provide for a future need as well as educating future consumers.

As part of the integrated approach to the introduction of green vehicles to the country and their adoption by its fleet customers, AFS has developed systems and reporting tools to advise its customers on how to run “cleaner and greener fleets” that cost less and are kinder to the environment.


Else said: “Sustainability isn’t just a way of thinking. It’s a way of living and taking pioneering philosophies of fleet management and the environment to the benefit of our customers and their fleets.

“Based on this experience we aim to provide customers with advice and direction on more sustainable vehicle selections that meet the same fleet management requirements but with lower emissions at a lower running cost. After all, ‘why walk the talk when you can drive it’.”

Barry MacColl, Eskom’s general manager of research, testing and development, said: “Eskom has been doing EV research for several years with the intention of understanding the impact of EVs on our grid and we also want to understand usage patterns and charging characteristics of the cars themselves in order to design grid solutions and tariffs for e-mobility.”

Read more on:    green  |  environment

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