A South African-designed and assembled battery car capable of carrying six people will be among the glamour and glitter of the 2008 Paris auto show that will open to the public on Saturday.
The Joule* claims to be Africa’s first battery car and will hum quietly on to the market by the end of 2010 with a price tag of around R250 000, a range of 200km and a seven-hour charge time for its two lithium-ion batteries domestic plug.
It was designed by South African-born Keith Helfet, a former chief stylist at Jaguar and responsible for designs such as the XJ220, the XK180 and the F-Type
Kobus Meiring, CEO of Optimal Energy, the company behind the Joule, said the car’s large battery bay could accept a number of battery configurations to allow the buyer a choice of performance and cost.
Most city dwellers, he said, drove fewer than 150km a day so he did not believe power supply would be a problem.
“Independent analysis has confirmed that Eskom’s grid has enough capacity to supply electrical energy to millions of cars without affecting its customer base or requiring any additional infrastructure,” he insisted.
“Eskom has vast amounts of excess energy from 11pm-6am and this will be the recommended charging time.”
The first assembly plant would be in Gauteng and the Joule sold in all cities. – Sapa
*The car is named for James Prescott Joule, an English scientist who dicovered the relationship between work and heat.