Monday, February 21, 2011

South Africa's First All-Electric Car

SA's Joule needs more moolah

Optimal Energy claims a range of around 300km and top speed of 140km/h.

February 21 2011 - Developers of South Africa's first all-electric car are courting top Asian car companies to raise close to R7-billion and boost production to 50 000 units a year by 2015, an executive said.

The five-seater MPV Joule launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2008. It is being developed mainly for the international market by Optimal Energy.

“We've gone to Korea, China and India to major car manufacturers. There is a lot of interest,” Optimal Energy Chief Executive Kobus Meiring told Reuters. He did not want to name any potential partners.

“To go into high-volume production you need about R7-billion, which includes setting up a plant,” said Meiring, adding that 8000 to 12 000 jobs could be created.

The company has a plant in East London, but it can only make 1000 cars a year, too few for commercial success.

Africa's largest economy has identified green industries as one of its key focus areas of growth, and Meiring felt the Joule, supported by R150-million in government funding, was a prime example to boost technology and innovation. {continued}

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