For the first time ever, a fleet of mass-produced, zero-emission vehicles have taken to the streets of Africa. A dozen electric cars from the Renault-Nissan Alliance highlighted the benefits of green transportation and provided a zero-emission shuttle services for delegates at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 28-Dec. 9. The 17th annual Conference of Parties (better known as COP17) aims to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.” The highly acclaimed Nissan LEAF and the Renault Fluence ZE were on the streets as shuttles for COP17 delegates. They are also available for test drives.
Electric vehicles, which can be charged from purely renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, will play a critical role in achieving COP17′s goals and reducing the impact of climate change. South Africa aims to become the continent’s leader in clean-energy generation. The country hopes to build one of the world’s biggest solar power plants – an ambitious effort that would increase access to electricity while simultaneously reducing the region’s dependence on fossil fuels. Giant mirrors and solar panels would dot the Northern Cape province, which ranks in the sunniest 3 percent of regions worldwide.