Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Joule Elecetric Car ( South Africa's big leap)

At the 2008 Paris Auto Show, Optimal Energy, a privately-owned South African company based in Cape Town that specialises in optimal solutions for urban transport launched the "Joule" on a world stage. It is the first African Electric Vehicle. Following the current trend of electric cars like Tesla roadster and GM Volt, the Joule puts Africa on the EV map. The car is a six-seater Multi-Purpose Vehicle(MPV) with two rows of Three seats.

It was designed by Keith Helfet, the designer of the 1993 Jaguar XJ220 supercar. The similarities in the two designs is obvious especially the front end. The car is powered by a front wheel electric motor and Li-ion batteries placed in the floor which can be charged in Seven hours and give a range of 200km. Upgrades could also be made to the battery pack for increase range. The car is expected to be manufactured in the Guateng province with sales starting at the end of 2010.

This is an exciting development. The interesting thing is they decided to launch the car in Paris. This means that the company has plans to export the car. I know with the cost of electric components and expensive Li-ion batteries, this car would be out of range for most South-Africans except the elite, but it would have a price advantage on the world stage.

Press release below.

Joule is Africa’s first battery electric engineering masterpiece from Optimal Energy. The silent passenger MPV is manufactured as a standard six-seater which complies with UN-ECE safety standards offering an optimal, no-compromise, and zero emission urban driving experience.

Joule is as beautiful and elegant as it is stylish with a classically timeless appeal set to transform the face of the urban transportation landscape. Developed from the outset as an electric vehicle, Joule delivers optimal design, maximum interior space and a minimal exterior and environmental footprint.

* Maximum 400km Range
* Regenerative ABS Braking system
* Steel space frame and side impact protection
* Two dynamic drive train options
* Excellent vehicle handling and dynamics
* Sports-like acceleration from standstill
* Optimal interior space with minimal exterior footprint