The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University will this week receive a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle following the launch of the national electric vehicle technology innovation programme at the university last year.
“This partnership brings the two organisations together to consider future technologies,” says uYilo Director Dirk Odendaal, of NMMU.
These new technologies include Battery Second Life (what happens to a battery after being used in an electric vehicke), Vehicle to Grid (V2G – powering grid form the vehicle in peak periods) and car sharing.
The uYilo Technology E-Mobility Innovation Programme (uYilo EMIP) was established by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to fast-track the development and commercialisation of key technologies to support the establishment of a South African electric vehicle (EV) industry.
A strategic partnership was formed between Nissan South Africa (NSA), the first vehicle OEM (original equipment manufacture) to launch EV products in the local market, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the host of the uYilo Programme, to investigate and develop EV-related technologies.
“As part of this collaboration, NSA is providing the uYilo programme with one of their Nissan Leaf EVs, which will be used in various real world simulations of EV uses cases and business models,” explains Odendaal.
The Nissan Leaf is the first all-electric car to go on sale locally, and is the culmination of five billion dollars and 20 years of research by the Japanese carmaker into sustainable battery technology.
To date, over 100 000 Leafs have sold across the planet making the Leaf the world’s best-selling electric car.
The 2011 World Car of the Year winner, unveiled in SA at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show, runs a front-mounted 80kW/254Nm electric motor powered by a 24kWh lithium-ion battery pack – which lives inside the floor between the axles for a better centre of gravity, and zero passenger or boot-space sacrifices.
According to the company’s latest estimates, Nissan and its French partner Renault could be on track for selling 1.5 million electric vehicles before 2020.
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