Nissan South Africa has partnered up with national electricity utility, Eskom, to research the impact of electric vehicles (EVs) on the national grid.
The Japanese motor manufacturer confirmed earlier this year that it would bring its LEAF EVs into the country, for sale. The partnership with Eskom comes after earlier programs with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Technology Innovation Agency. Part of the deal with Eskom includes the handover of 10 LEAFs, managed by the fleet services division of Avis.
This isn’t the first research being done to determine the viability of EVs, though. Eskom has been building prototype vehicles since the 80s. Barry MacColl, Eskom’s general manager, says, “Eskom has been doing EV research for several years with the intention of understanding the impact of EVs on our grid,” he said, “and we also want to understand usage patterns and charging characteristics of the cars themselves in order to design grid solutions and tariffs for e-mobility.”
The big question on everybody’s lips, though, is whether or not it’s a good idea to have EVs on our ailing grid. This winter the utility has already issued numerous warnings about load on the grid, and warned that several power stations need maintenance – increasing the risk of rolling blackouts.
Nissan says it’s working with the government agencies, and Eskom, to finalise the details. If all goes well, it will bring the LEAF to the country, as planned, later this year.