SA Joule producer firm canned

2012-06-23 17:24
The Joule electric car was scheduled for production in 2014. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Joule electric car was scheduled for production in 2014. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The company that produced the Joule electric car has been shut down after facing funding shortfalls.

Optimal Energy produced South Africa's Joule electric car that was meant to be launch in 2014 with an initial production run of 50 000 units per year.

Earlier this year, it emerged that the company could not secure an international partner for production and it was announced that the Joule was being shuttered in favour of an electrically powered bus, known as the "E-bus".

The company pinned its hopes on the electric bus as it felt that the project would require less funding and give the firm breathing space while it considered options for reviving the Joule.

However, on Saturday Optimal Energy told News24 that a board meeting with shareholders the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) had concluded that the company was no longer viable and would be shut down entirely.

"In a special board meeting of Optimal Energy directors held on 21 June 2012 the notification from the shareholders, IDC and TIA, not to fund the 'E-Bus' strategy was reviewed. Based on the lack of the required funding available, the board made the decision to shut down Optimal Energy as soon as possible," the company said.

The development of the Joule has cost R300m so far and the company had touted its range and performance as a viable alternative to traditional cars.

Despite much interest from international distributors and support from President Jacob Zuma at the COP 17 climate conference in Durban in 2011, the project had been hampered by funding shortfalls for mass production.


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