SA Joule is not dead, NRF says

2012-11-05 11:29
SA has shuttered its electric car programme. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

SA has shuttered its electric car programme. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The technological innovation created in the development of the Joule electric car has value beyond the project, the National Research Foundation has said.

"The government has made a formal decision about the Joule project itself and I think that decision has been made. But you know one mustn't take a very narrow view of innovation and technology," National Research Foundation CEO Dr Albert van Jaarsveld told News24.

The Joule development was put on ice and the development company, Optimal Energy, shuttered after they could not find suitable partners to facilitate mass production of the car.

"In the process of developing the Joule as a concept, there were many components of the car that were developed and built. All of those components can have a life way beyond the Joule," said Van Jaarsveld.

The Joule was touted as a South African innovation that could solve the issue of fuel price increases affecting motorists and the vehicle was slated for production by 2014.

Safety

But challenges persisted: One problem was the industrial scale of the project with little infrastructure to support it and, in particular, producing batteries that would drive the electric motors safely was a concern.

"Safety is holding us back. In remote controlled aeroplanes they double that [battery power] already, but it's a toy, so it's not such a big issue," Optimal Energy CEO Kobus Meiring told News24 in 2011.

However, Van Jaarsveld said that the technological edge gained from the project could find its way into other developments.

"The technology advantages gained from doing a project like that are not dead even though the project itself has been brought to a halt.

"There are many things like the batteries and all the other developments that we can take forward and we can work with other partners; we can make injections into new projects in that regard. Technology development is never lost," he said.

The Joule project had an estimated cost of R300m and Optimal Energy mulled a programme to build an electric bus when it became clear that the car would not get going.

Many global companies like Nissan, GM and Toyota have more capacity to produce an electric car and this ultimately sealed the Joule's fate.

"It had a lot of potential; I think everybody understood that. The problem we ran into is that it was competing with very high-end investments from commercial companies around the world," said Van Jaarsveld.


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
 
- News24
Read more on:    optimal energy  |  nrf  |  technology
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
35 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Games on Sale!

Save up to 60% on selected games. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to connect to your inner needs and try to get things back into a more balanced rhythm. There will be emotional...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.