Avis Fleet Services (AFS) has delivered the first fleet of totally electrically powered vehicles to a South African electricity provider.
The vehicles, 10 Nissan LEAF models, will be among the first production electric vehicles to be launched in South Africa and, simultaneously, the first to be supplied by a fleet management company in the industry, according to AFS. This follows an agreement between Nissan SA and Avis Fleet Services, which the manufacturer has designated as its fleet management partner of choice in South Africa.
As part of the launch in South Africa, electricity provider Eskom will be taking delivery of the first vehicles for research and assessment purposes. Delivery of the vehicles will take place at Eskom's Megawatt Park head office in Johannesburg on May 28 when the vehicles will be formally handed over and received by members of Eskom's executive management team.
"The Nissan LEAF is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery that offers a range of up to 160km's on a single charge and delivers a top speed of up to 145km/h. It is totally environment friendly producing zero emissions, something we believe will make the vehicle attractive to fleet owners, particularly local subsidiaries of international companies that report on carbon emissions. It is also a viable alternative for companies looking for vehicles to operate in a congested urban environment with high stop-start operating and idling costs and where range is not a factor," said Mike Whitfield, Managing Director of Nissan South Africa.
It is further expected that the interest of fleet owners in viable "green" transport solutions will grow as fuel costs increase and government works towards its stated national objective of reducing South Africa's emission footprint by 34 percent by the year 2030, according to AFS. There are also anticipated savings through the EV application as a result of changed driver behavior. This research will form a fundamental part of the pilot to assist Avis Fleet Services in better guiding the fleet management industry on these potential benefits in the months ahead.
Added Clive Else, chief executive of AFS: "Electric vehicle technology will, therefore, become more applicable and desirable to corporate fleet operators as government moves steadily towards introducing formal carbon tax levies across all vehicle segments by 2015, the year they have targeted for the introduction of these taxes. Government's steps represent a positive stride in better understanding this technology helping to provide for a future need as well as educating future consumers.
As part of the integrated approach to the introduction of green vehicles to the country and their adoption by its fleet customers, AFS has developed systems and reporting tools to advise its customers on how to run 'cleaner and greener fleets' that cost less and are kinder to the environment, according to the company.