VENTURES: Meet Joule The Motor
Recent Western Cape Business News
South Africa's first electric motor vehicle, the Joule, developed by Cape Town-based Optimal Energy will be on display at the Power & Electricity World Exhibition 2009 at the Sandton Convention Centre from 20 to 24 April, coinciding with World Earth Day on 22 April 2009. The exhibition provides a platform for Africa’s energy elite across all sectors to unite and do business, and showcase Africa’s ingenuity.
Entrepreneur Kobus Meiring, CEO of Cape Town-based Optimal Energy, a privately-owned South African company that specialises in optimal solutions for urban transport, has always been interested in sustainable energy - particularly electricity, which he feels is the most versatile form of energy available. With the tremendous advances in battery technology made over that past decade, coupled with the steady rise in the oil price, he believes that electric cars have now become a viable option for urban transport.
Diana Blake, Executive Manager of Marketing and Sales for Optimal Energy explains that the gap between oil usage and discovery is expected to increase sharply as countries such as China and India, with about a third of the world’s population, are rapidly becoming economically active.
“One way to illustrate this is to consider the car-to-people ratios around the world,” says Blake. “In the USA, that ratio is about 80 percent, 50 percent in the European Union, 15 percent in South Africa and is sitting at approximately one percent in China and India. When China and India reach South Africa levels, their car population will have multiplied 15 times. Here we are looking at about 350 million more cars or a near 50 percent growth in the global car population. The world car population is expected to double by about 2030, while the global oil supply is expected to stay constant or go into decline. Therefore, it is clear that, even though the oil price is currently at a low of US $40 per barrel, the long term trend can only be upwards, with prices of over US$ 200 per barrel expected when the market recovers from the current recession.”
“Joule is Optimal Energy’s solution to the global energy crisis. More to the point, Joule is not just another ‘jump on the energy crisis bandwagon’ solution,” says Blake. “It is a product which aligns with Optimal Energy’s vision to establish and lead the electric vehicle industry in South Africa and to leverage its success in this market as a springboard for global expansion.”
Joule takes advantage of the tremendous advances that have been made recently in lithium ion battery technology and surpasses most electric cars in terms of practicality, performance and design. It is a six-seater urban vehicle that is elegant and stylish, delivering optimal design, maximum interior space and a minimal exterior carbon footprint. It also delivers on the all-important facet of modern safety requirements, making for an energy efficient vehicle that is the way of the future.
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