South African power utility Eskom has embarked on a three-year research project with Japanese vehicle manufacturer Nissan for testing the fully-electric Nissan Leaf
The project comes ahead of Nissan SA’s plans to formally launch Nissan Leaf later in 2013, which will thus become South Africa's first commercially available fully-electric vehicle.
Eskom general manager, research, testing and development Barry MacColl said, “Eskom has been doing electric vehicle research for several years with the intention of understanding the impact of such vehicles on our grid.
“We also want to understand usage patterns and charging characteristics of the cars to design grid solutions and tariffs for e-mobility.”
MacColl added that while South Africa uses fossil-based fuels for many of its energy processes, this new approach will cater to the interests of all.
“E-mobility is a way of moving people around in a more effective and cleaner fashion which is critical for the economy,” he noted.
The full launch of electric vehicles, including the Leaf, in the South African market will be subject to finalisation of government legislation.
Nissan 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.