Environmental issues play a key role in Africa’s premier motor event to be held at Nasrec, in Johannesburg, October 25-31.
The Auto Africa Expo 2004 will be a showcase of what automotive companies are doing to protect the environment. The automotive industry is taking the need to be environmentally friendly seriously, particularly in light of depleting fossil fuel resources, as well as alarming emissions levels in many countries. Most automotive companies are investing heavily into seeking better and more efficient ways of ensuring this.
“People in our industry are becoming increasingly aware of our planet’s health,” says Pula Dippenaar, Auto Africa 2004 exhibition manager. “This is indicated by the number of exhibitors, who will be demonstrating this with their products.”
South African motor manufacturers’ green policy is governed, to a large extent, by the International Standards Organisation’s (ISO) 14000 regulations, as are automotive sectors across the world. Many local producers have attained, or are in the process of conforming to these stipulations.
ISO develops voluntary technical standards that add value to business operations. They facilitate more efficient, cleaner and safer production and compliance smoothes the path for trade operations between countries regarding quality assurance. They are also designed to safeguard consumers and people using the product.
An automotive sector report issued by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) trade and investment arm, Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) says, “Increased consumer demand and government regulations ensure that vehicle manufacturers conform to environmental standards and are continuously improving on the environmental impact of the product. The environmental management standards programme, ISO 14001, therefore, is increasingly being dictated as a prerequisite for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and components manufacturers wishing to export.
“New environmental and recycling processes in the European Union, Japan, the United States and other major markets are forcing the sector to focus on recycling and disposing of components and materials that go into a motor vehicle. This is part of a significant global trend and South Africa is well-placed for exploiting this opportunity with its sophisticated facilities for manufacturing and refurbishing automotive components,” it goes on to say.
Toyota SA will be launching its new-generation Prius car at Auto Africa 2004. This eco-friendly vehicle first came onto the international market in 1997, and has since become the favourite ride of famous fans, including Hollywood celebrities like Larry David, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz.
The Prius will be available in South Africa for the first time in February 2005 and, as yet a retail price has not been established for the local market
“The Prius, as the world’s first mass-produced family-sized hybrid petrol car, is providing an exciting glimpse of the future,” says Johan van Zyl, president and CEO of Toyota SA. “Toyota considers the hybrid technology it developed for the Prius to be a core-technology for the eco-cars of tomorrow.”
The essence of the eco-car is what Toyota calls Hybrid Synergy Drive, which uses its electric motor as the main power source, switching seamlessly to petrol propulsion whenever extra acceleration or speed is required. Setting new global benchmarks for environmental performance, it can squeeze up to 35 kilometres out of a litre of fuel, while achieving unusually low emissions.
But being green doesn’t make the Prius a slouch – it has a lively performance, accelerating from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 11 seconds. Comparative models achieve slightly lower levels in terms of speed. The closest model comes in at a slightly higher time of 11.5 seconds over the same distance, according to published figures in vehicle publications.
The Prius also includes a number of ecological innovations, among them the choice of EV (electric vehicle) driving mode, enabling the driver to simply press a button and enjoy exclusive use of the electric motor to power the vehicle. The result is zero emissions and very low noise levels, making it an ideal choice for travelling late at night or early in the morning. A big benefit is that there is no need for charging the sophisticated battery pack from an external source – battery charging is incorporated into the overall electronic controls, using the petrol engine and regenerative braking as charging sources.
Sustainable Mobility is an international initiative, designed to meet people’s needs for transportation with the necessity to protect the environment. According to various statements issued in regard to this, particularly related to France: “As far as the experts are concerned, the problem of local (French) pollution from automobile emission has now been solved.” This is largely due to advances in technology. This project will demonstrate these ideals at Auto Africa 2004.
An example of local commitment is Filter Focus, a filtration process, which aims to reduce the amount of sulphur in diesel to zero. The efficiency of this technology ensures a thinner, lighter diesel fuel, which reduces the amount of dirt likely to affect a vehicle’s performance and increases an engine’s lifespan. It also lowers the level of emissions, thus meeting increasing environmental demands from the public.
“Auto Africa is distinctly conscious of world views on pollution and other contaminants. By presenting products that are green, the exhibition supports the need to be more environmentally friendly,” Dippenaar says.
Auto Africa 2004, to be held at Nasrec south of Johannesburg between 25 and 31 October, is the continent’s premier motoring show and is held every two years. At its core, Auto Africa is a truly comprehensive automotive trade exhibition, drawing participants in increasing numbers to exhibit. In 2004, exhibitors will be spread across the following clusters:
New passenger and leisure vehicles, which form the core of the event in dedicated exhibition halls.
They are supported by truck and bus displays, which are located in separate halls.
Allied Industries are accommodated in the equipment halls and include:
- Manufacturing, robotics, raw materials and technology;
- Components, wheels and tyres, fuels and lubricants;
- Parts and accessories;
- Garage equipment and workshop furnishings;
- Collision repair suppliers and technology;
- Information technology and software solutions;
- Trucking manufacturers, components suppliers and service products;
- Specialized services to the automotive industry.
Outdoor exhibits, SUV exhibits and motorcycles as well as demonstration and activity centres are located outside the halls, within the Nasrec perimeter.