First mass-produced electric cars take to the streets of Africa

Mon.28.Nov.2011 GMT

For the first time ever, a fleet of mass-produced, zero-emission vehicles have taken to the streets of Africa.

A dozen electric cars from the Renault-Nissan Alliance highlighted the benefits of green transportation and provided a zero-emission shuttle services for delegates at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 28-Dec. 9. 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.”

The highly acclaimed Nissan LEAF and the Renault Fluence ZE, two of the most affordable zero-emission cars ever produced, were on the streets as shuttles for COP17 delegates. They are also available for test drives.

The Alliance also offers one of the first public test drives in the Renault Twizy, a fun-to-drive commuter vehicle that can be plugged into many conventional wall sockets.

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 gasoline whatsoever. The Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to sell 1.5 million zero-emission cars by 2016.

Nissan has already sold more than 20,000 LEAFs on three continents, making it the most popular EV in the world. Renault has just begun selling the Kangoo ZE minivan. The Fluence ZE family sedan will go on sale shortly followed by the Twizy urban 2-seater, and the ZOE compact hatchback next year.

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 sunniest 3 percent of regions worldwide.

“Like many nations, South Africa understands the imperative of a clean energy grid and how zero-emission cars fit into a greener energy ecosystem,” said Hideaki Watanabe, Corporate Vice President of the Zero Emission Business Unit at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Renault-Nissan Alliance Managing Director, Zero Emission Business. “The Renault-Nissan Alliance applauds what South Africa and all the nations represented at COP17 are doing to reduce the threat to our environment and standard of living due to global warming.”

Nissan has announced plans to launch Nissan LEAF to South Africa in 2013, subject to the successful conclusion of discussions between the government and the motor industry regarding the introduction of customer incentives and a recharging infrastructure.

For more information on Nissan LEAF, go to:


For more information Renault’s electric vehicles go to: