South Africa to introduce zero emission electric vehicles

Cape Town, Feb 20 (IANS) South Africa has announced that it will soon introduce zero emission electric vehicles (ZEEV) in a bid to become more environment friendly.

The introduction of ZEEV, a ground-breaking pioneering initiative for the South African automobile market, "seeks to ensure that South Africa practically contributes to the reduction of environmentally harmful gases by promoting the use of cleaner sources of fuel by the automotive industry", Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) spokesman Albi Modise said.

This initiative is one of the practical outcomes of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) hosted by South Africa recently, reported Xinhua.

A unique feature of ZEEV is that they are fully powered by solar energy rather than power from the national grid.

The high-tech solar panels powering the vehicles generate enough electricity to power the fleet and feed back into the national grid, further incentivising the move for other government departments and ordinary citizens to consider travelling green.

The program "is also meant to ensure that South Africa keeps the pace of the technological developments in automotive manufacturing against her international counterparts", the department said in a statement.

"This initiative will simultaneously address other global concerns such as energy security as oil wells are expected to dry up in the next 50 years. "

This initiative, involving several government departments and private businesses, is a multi-stakeholders partnership program aimed at sustainability for many decades to come,

the statement said.

"The DEA believes that a transition to electric vehicles in South Africa is one of the best solutions to cut down on CO2 emissions, in line with the aims of the National Climate Change Response policy and ensure implementation of the resolutions of many climate change conferences," the statement said.

"South Africa seeks to provide an environment that encourages the domestic automotive industry to prepare for transition into alternative propulsions systems operation and production," the statement said.

The government will roll out an effective consumer education and awareness campaign to popularize the uptake of the vehicles, including an official launch ceremony scheduled for Feb 26.