Gallery: South Africa’s First Electric Vehicle is a Real “Joule”


We first heard about South Africa’s exciting first electric vehicle named the “Joule” last year, and are happy to bring you updated information and images. This 5 seater passenger vehicle may not be as advanced as Nissan’s Leaf or Honda’s new all-electric Fit, but it’s still impressive for a country that suffers from many economic and social setbacks. Developed by a private company called Optimal Energy (Pty) Ltd which was founded in 2005 and received government assistance, the Joule meets all UN-ECE standards and has an appropriate city range of 186 miles.

This “proudly South African” car’s recyclable lithium ion battery is fully recyclable. Somewhat behind US equivalents, this battery will take 7 hours to charge using a 220 volt home outlet. Even so, the company is based in Cape Town, where a large proportion of the country’s renewable energy projects are being developed, so it’s more likely that this car will be charged using clean energy.

The Joule is highway friendly with a top speed of 87 mph. It is 12.8 feet long, 5.9 feet wide and features a spacious 185 gallon trunk. Optimal Energy reports that the batteries will be leased on a monthly basis separately from the car, which will come with a warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance. By 2015, the company hopes to roll out sales in South Africa, though it will eventually compete on the international market as well.

+ Optimal Energy


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  1. Green Joy November 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Good job guys! Companies like these really are the hope for the future. We can expect small startups to really rattle the market with innovative technology or new takes on old designs.

    Juan Miguel Ruiz (Going Green)

  2. onlyarose November 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    How wonderful! Wishing them the best… 😉

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