26/02/2012 The minister of Environmental affairs, Edna Molewa and minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters with Nissan SA Managinbg Director, Mike Whitfield unvails the DEA Green Cars by the department of environmental affairs in conjuction with Nissan at Gerotek in Pretoria West. Picture: Phill Magakoe

There is a new “Leaf” in the book of green cars in the city.

The department of environmental affairs on Tuesday received four Nissan Leaf cars to test and use over the next three years.

The Leaf is the world’s first mass-produced, 100 percent electric vehicle. And it will be the first fully electric car in the country.

Water and environmental affairs Minister Edna Molewa said at the launch of the pilot programme in Pretoria West: “The future for urban car ownership and driving is definitely green.

She said green technology was essential to guarantee South Africa’s energy security and reduce reliance on imported oil.

“We are in big trouble, not just in South Africa, but around the world,” she said, referring to the climate change crisis and rising carbon emissions. Molewa said 20 percent of global carbon emissions were attributed to the transport industry.

“The transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy can create large numbers of green jobs across many sectors of the economy.”


The cars are charged using electric chargers. A 220-volt home charger takes eight hours to fully charge the vehicle and, when fully charged, the car can be driven 160-180km.

Nissan communications officer Veralda Schmidt said: “Research shows only 20 percent of people in cities commute more than 100km a day. This is a city car.

As part of the pilot programme, it is expected that charging stations will be installed at central points such as shopping centres, office buildings and other communal areas.

These 440-volt chargers can charge the vehicle to 80 percent in only 30 minutes.

The department of environmental affairs and other government agencies are planning to make charging facilities available at transport hubs such as OR Tambo airport, Gautrain stations and in business districts. The department has also set up a solar tracking device at its new “green” building in the city that provides enough energy to charge the cars.

“The time to talk has passed. We need action.”

Energy minister Dipuo Peters said the project was part of the government’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by 2020.

“One of our targets is to ensure we invest in the green economy,” she said. “A journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step. And this is the first step.”

Nissan hopes to release the car commercially in South Africa by September 2013 - Pretoria News