Nissan, Eskom power up with Leaf

2013-05-29 15:18

PRETORIA, South Africa - Nissan has announced a three-year research project with electricity utility Eskom on Tuesday that will include testing the Leaf, the automaker’s flagship electric vehicle.

The project is ahead of Nissan SA’s plans to formally launch the Leaf during September 2013, becoming the first fully electric vehicle (EV) available in the country.


It follows a pilot programme to promote public awareness with the department of environmental affairs (DEA), and another with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) aimed to create a  commercially viable infrastructure for EVs.

The collaboration was made by the automaker’s sales, marketing and aftersales director Johan Kleynhans at a vehicle handover ceremony of 10 Leafs to Eskom. Avis Fleet Services (AFS) will manage the vehicles on Eskom’s behalf.

Kleynhans said: “I’m delighted to be handing over these vehicles for this research project. The outcome of which will have long -term implications for the development of the entire EV industry.”

Eskom’s manager, research, testing and development GM Barry MacColl 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.”


MacColl said that while South Africa uses fossil-based fuels for many of its energy processes, a new approach was in the sights of all concerned.

“E-mobility is a way of moving people around in a more effective and cleaner fashion which is critical for the economy.

“Eskom is intent upon finding technology options suitable for implementation within the energy body,” he added.

Kleynhans acknowledged that a full-on launch of EVs in the local market is subject to finalisation of government legislation, but he reiterated Nissan’s intent to launch the vehicle for sale before the year-end.

“We are collaborating with all concerned in the e-mobility programme by providing our hands-on experience with EVs and the infrastructure required,” said Kleynhans.

The award-winning Leaf is the world’s first viable, mass market electric vehicle and has already been rolled out in Japan, US and Europe, with over 60 000 models sold globally.

  • Bernard Visagie - 2013-05-29 15:35

    This is brilliant because South Africa has just got so much surplus electricity supply available, it's about time we did something like this!

      Trevor Lea - 2013-05-30 09:43

      Actually, we have lots of surplus energy. Power stations cannot switch on and off like that. From 21:00 to 06:00 after the peak is the best time to utilise the available capacity and charge batteries. ESKOM must just charge us off peak rates.

      Johann Kaiser Raath - 2013-05-31 06:53

      That's why, when Eskom says "Electricity usage is high, switch of blah blah blah" I heat a pair of socks in the tumble-dryer. If they can hike the tariffs, they can supply more electricity, as simple as that.

      Michael Lewis - 2013-05-31 10:17

      That sounds like a really bright thing to do Johann.... Maybe next you should cut off your nose to spite your face.

      Johann Kaiser Raath - 2013-06-03 08:08

      Why would I do that? My surgeon gave me a perfect nose ;)

  • Jackey Moss - 2013-05-29 15:58

    Will be seeing a lot of these leaf on the side of the road, we can have all the charging infrastructure in the world but with Eskom supplying the electricity...No chance !!The vandalism, the cable theft at this stations,the tariffs esp from Eskom and possibly a Gantry at each charge station.e-tolls for e-mobilty..

  • Vaughan - 2013-05-29 16:24

    Is this another project like the Joule electric car. DTI spends 50 million and then suddenly realizes its unfeasible. You can only shake your head. We can't afford to maintain our roads without putting up eTolls, cant maintain the grid without 35% increase in electricity but we can afford to help Nissan, a Japanese company, out?

  • Revelgen - 2013-05-29 17:07

    So we stop using fossil-based petrol as fuel, and instead use fossil-based Eskom coal-burning electricity as fuel? Brilliant logic for saving the planet. Electric cars have had miserable sales overseas, and here in SA with our large distances, 'range anxiety' is going to prevent electric cars even making up 1% of total sales. Sorry to rain on the parade, but let's not fool ourselves.

      Love Ness - 2013-05-29 17:29

      It's common knowledge, they will discover and acknowledge this fact R100 million down the drain 4 or so yers later. The studies are there outside SA that proves this technology is not prectically feasible for mass market - so do they think SA will be the exception? Good on Avis Fleet Services, free money for next 5 or so years - its amazing!

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2013-05-29 19:20

    Three weeks ago we were hit with cable theft/incompetent installation/accident/fairies that left us without power for a week. Now...HOW was I supposed to charge my car in that time? If peak hour is from 4 to 9, will there be electricity after 9 when everyone starts to wash their laundry, switch on geysers etc etc? No, Nissan... just....no.

  • Branden Hart - 2013-05-30 07:41

    I can just imagine - your radio display doubles as an energy watch. "Electricity usage is high, please do not charge your car tonight your meeting tomorrow is unnecessary" All this shows is a COMPLETE lack of understanding of the bigger picture from ALL parties concerned.

  • Masti M Soomaru - 2013-05-30 13:10

    Please read the following: http://eskomfinance.co.za/upload/Project-Energy-draft-press-release-ver3-DOC-FINAL_2_.pdf

  • sabelo.mzuku - 2013-05-30 13:16

    My only Gripe with them electric cars is the time it takes to charge the battery...and sooooo much more i do not know.

  • Hendrik de Bruin - 2013-05-31 09:05

    I will generate own power from own solar station and charge EV from there and use vechile/s on trips suited to the distance car can do. Nissans'quality was a let down in the past prefer better quality like Honda.

  • Erik Kasper Van Wyk - 2013-05-31 13:22

    I dont think SA needs this vehicle. This vehicle struggles in terms of sales in countries where infrastructure are way more developed than in SA. In fact I cant think of one good reason why I would buy this vehicle. Short range, long charging times, expensive and SA shortage of electricity. Why would one put yourself in a worse situation on purpose? What we need are smaller and cheaper turbo diesel cars or turbo diesel hybrid or biofuel hybrid. Doesnt matter what route your going, a certain amount of damage will be done to the enviroment, some ways just more than others.

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