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.

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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