For the first time ever, a fleet of mass-produced, zero-emission vehicles has taken to the streets of Africa. A dozen electric cars from the Renault-Nissan Alliance is highlighting the benefits of green transportation by providing zero-emission shuttle services for delegates at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November 28 to 9 December.
The 17th annual Conference of Parties (better known as COP17) aims to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.”
Electric vehicles, which can be charged from purely renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, will play a critical role in achieving COP17’s goals and reducing the impact of climate change.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the world leader in electric-vehicle technology and the only car group worldwide offering a range of vehicles that consume no petrol whatsoever. The Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to sell 1.5 million zero-emission cars by
Nissan has already sold more than 20 000 LEAFs on three continents, making it the most popular EV in the world. Renault just began selling Kangoo Z.E., a light commercial vehicle. The Fluence Z.E. family sedan will go on sale shortly followed by Twizy, an urban 2-seater, and ZOE, a compact hatchback, next year.
At COP17, the Alliance is offering test drives in the Renault Twizy, a fun-to-drive commuter vehicle that can be plugged into many conventional wall sockets. COP17 marks one of the first public test-drive opportunities for the Twizy, an antidote to the air and noise pollution plaguing some of the world’s biggest cities. Twizy test drives will take place at South Africa’s landmark Moses Mabhida Stadium throughout the conference.
COP17 is also offering a sneak peek of the highly acclaimed Nissan LEAF, named World Car of the Year 2011, and Renault Fluence Z.E., a luxury sedan. Both cars are on the streets as shuttles for COP17 delegates. They are also available for test drives.
Anyone can sign up for test rides throughout the duration of the conference at the Alliance’s booth in the Climate Change Response Expo near Durban’s International Convention Centre. The test drive route runs from the Expo site to the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium and back.
South Africa aims to become the continent’s leader in clean-energy generation. The country hopes to build one of the world’s biggest solar power plants – an ambitious effort that would increase access to electricity while simultaneously reducing the
region’s dependence on fossil fuels. Giant mirrors and solar panels would dot the
Northern Cape province, which ranks in the three percent of sunniest regions worldwide.
Nissan has announced plans to launch the LEAF in South Africa in 2013, subject to the successful conclusion of discussions between the government and the motoring industry on the establishment of a charging infrastructure and the introduction of customer incentives.