S Africa launches electric vehicle technology center

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-14 9:09:08

The South African government on Wednesday founded Electric Vehicle Technology Center to advance the new auto development, media reported.

The modern center was established at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the southern port city of Port Elizabeth with the fund from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) .

The TIA was created by an act of parliament in November 2008, with the mandate to enable and support technology innovation across all sectors of the economy in order to achieve the social- economic benefits for the country and enhance the global competitiveness.

The South African Broadcasting Company (SABC) reported that the center establishment was aimed at "facilitating the development of the infrastructure, research, technology and competencies for the country's new generation vehicles."

The TIA board chairperson Mamphela Ramphele experienced an electric car by taking a drive in it on the campus.

Since the beginning of the new century, South Africans have been keen on developing the green vehicles like the first indigenously-developed electric car Joule.

A South African expert told media that it would be imperative that South Africa should not be left behind in the green vehicles due to the fact that about 10 percent of the global vehicles are believed to be powered by the alternative energy sources by 2020.

"We are trying to transcend the limitations of 20th century transportation technologies and embrace more renewable forms of transport that will not carbonize the atmosphere. We will also use more renewable materials as well," Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor Derrick Swartz said.

Ramphele had the great expectations for the center, saying "if we can establish this successfully, it will be the first platform on the African continent. It will serve as the middle between East and West."

Ramphele believed the center foundation would have its far- reaching implications for the country by creating more job opportunities in the new field exploration.

The South African auto industry is one of the most important sectors in the economy, contributing at least 6 percent of the GDP and accounting for about 12 percent of the manufacturing exports. The South African government has identified the auto industry as a key growth sector in the economic development.

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