SA launches electric vehicle pilot programme

Engineering News 26 February 2013.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on Tuesday launched a Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Pilot Programme, which would see it trial a fleet of electric vehicles.

Speaking at the launch, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said the multistakeholder partnership project would pilot, test and demonstrate the viability of electric vehicles under South African conditions.

The pilot programme would also serve to determine end-user, infrastructure and running costs associated with local electric vehicle use, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters added.

Nissan South Africa – the primary private sector partner for the programme – would provide the DEA with four Nissan Leaf electric vehicles for the initial phase of the project, which would run for three years.

(Contributor’s note: There are a few problems and some great opportunites with this. One is that the South African developed Joule was dropped by the government just as it was ready to go commercial. Instead we appear to have joined forces with Nissan – what about localisation? Another problem is that 95% of our electricity comes from old coal fired power stations, emitting 1 kg carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated. So unless people charge their EVs with their own renewable energy the emission reduction will be very little. and has the Department of Public Works and the Treasury bought into this?
There are some opportunities though: Resurrect the Joule expertise for local manufacture of EVs, give big incentives to make all charging stations renewable energy powered, start with all government services using EVs and stop buying big SUVs and luxury cars.)

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