SA’s Joule

Date:14 April 2010 Tags:, , ,

Mr Kobus Meiring, CEO, presents the World Premiere of the Joule, a battery electric vehicle, at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

This car was hand-built near Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Hi-Tech Automotive, which is responsible for building a marketing and test fleet of approximately 100 vehicles. These will double as research and development units, some of which will be on South African roads by the start of the Soccer World Cup in June.

Full-scale production of Joule will begin at the end of 2012, with cars in showrooms by mid-2013.

Volume production for Joule will take place at a state-of-the-art facility in its home country, with key design goals including a range of 300 km based on the UDDS cycle, a genuine freeway cruising capability, seating for five, a 5-Star NCAP safety rating and an on-sale price starting from R235 000 in today’s retail terms.

Conceived by Cape Town-based Optimal Energy and originally designed by South African-born Keith Helfet, Joule has been refined by Zagato’s Total Design Centre, and formed the centrepiece of a stand at Geneva shared by Optimal Energy and the iconic Milanese design house.

Since the first spark of an idea for a home-grown zero emissions vehicle in 2005, Joule’s mantra has been Born Electric, and as a result a key strength and differentiator of Optimal Energy’s design is a clean sheet approach. According to Optimal Energy, their company is the only local automotive manufacturer focused exclusively on electric cars for the mass market. By harnessing both the latest technology and the best brains in the automotive and electrical spheres, Joule will be exceptionally energy-efficient from the cradle to the grave.

At its heart is an advanced 36 kWh traction battery, consisting of 15 modules, each module containing 30 Lithium-ion cells. The battery provides power to a synchronous permanent magnet motor capable of generating 65 kW of power and torque of 280 N.m. An integrated, programmable on-board charger ensures that no external charging infrastructure is required and that charging can be synchronised with off-peak electricity. A holistic approach to energy regeneration and energy conservation (including an optional photo-voltaic solar panel mounted on Joule’s roof) will ensure that Joule takes advantage of all potential power sources.

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