For the first time, a fleet of mass-produced, zero-emission cars will take to the streets of South Africa. A dozen electric cars from the Renault-Nissan Alliance will highlight the benefits of green transportation and will provide zero-emission shuttle services for delegates at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa from 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.

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.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the world leader in electric-vehicle technology and the only car group worldwide offering a range of vehicles that consume no gasoline. It plans to sell 1.5 million zero-emission cars by 2016.

Nissan has already sold more than 20,000 LEAFs on three continents, making it the most popular EV in the world. Renault just began selling Kangoo Z.E., a light commercial vehicle. The Fluence Z.E. family sedan will go on sale shortly followed by Twizy, an urban 2-seater, and ZOE, a compact hatchback, next year.

At COP17, the Alliance will offer test drives in the Renault Twizy, a fun-to-drive commuter vehicle that can be plugged into many conventional wall sockets. COP17 marks one of the first public test-drive opportunities for the Twizy, an antidote to the air and noise pollution plaguing some of the world’s biggest cities. Twizy test drives will take place at South Africa’s landmark Moses Mabhida Stadium throughout the conference.

COP17 will also offer a sneak peek of the highly acclaimed Nissan LEAF, named World Car of the Year 2011, and Renault Fluence Z.E., a luxury sedan.
Both cars will be on the streets as shuttles for COP17 delegates. They will also be available for test drives.

Anyone can sign up for test rides throughout the duration of the conference at the Alliance’s booth in the Climate Change Response Expo near Durban’s International Convention Center.