Key players in the future of motoring gathered at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University today for the launch of South Africa’s Electric Vehicle Technology Centre.
Industry representatives from BMW, Eskom, Sasol, Nissan, PowerTech and Siemens, experts from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) that is funding the multi-million centre and chairperson of its board Dr Mamphela Ramphele attended the opening from 10:00 am at the university’s new state-of-the-art Engineering building on North Campus.
Dr Ramphele, who recently started a new political platform, Agang, gave the keynote address.
The university’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz took one of the new electric vehicles already on campus for a spin prior to the opening where he then officially welcomed about 250 guests from around South Africa.
The university’s technology station, eNtsa, has been singled out to facilitate the country’s e-mobility brief of establishing just what is needed to take South African motoring into the future.
NMMU’s award-winning eNtsa will facilitate the establishment of a centre which will develop infrastructure, research, technology and competencies needed for the future new generation vehicles.
“Experts anticipate that 10% of the world’s vehicles will be powered by alternative energy sources by 2020, so it imperative that South Africa is not left behind but starts working towards this new future,” says eNtsa’s Dirk Odendaal, who will be coordinating the establishment of the new hub.
“We’re thrilled that NMMU will be playing such an integral role that the future of electric cars.”
NMMU was selected by TIA, established by the government to enhance socio-economic benefits in the field of technology and innovation, because of its “outstanding track record”.
Last year eNtsa, whose tag line is innovation through engineering, won a number of accolades for its internationally-patented Weld Core® technology, which is already saving industry millions of rands.
“eNtsa, with over 20 engineers spanning across mechanical , electro-mechnical, and electrical, is a world-class TIA technology station out of the 16, and given the strategic geographic location of NMMU (within the heart of the automotive sector) and the relationship that eNtsa already has developed with the automotive sector, it seemed appropriate to locate the hub of this programme at NMMU,” said Dr Tsakani Mthombeni, GM: Energy Sector at TIA.
The presence of Nelson Mandela Bay’s automotive industry was also considered, along with need to improve the economy with the possible creation of a new industry for the area, when choosing the right site for the new centre.
“We’re just so proud to be tasked and honoured to be part of this programme that has the potential to advance our society,” said Mr Odendaal.