Optimal Energy Joule
The Joule was produced by Optimal Energy based in Cape Town, South Africa. It was an electric six-seat passenger car first thought of in 2004. It was shown to the public at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Changes were made and shown again at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Production of the Joule stopped in April 2012 and Optimal Energy announced it was closing down in June 2012.
The Joule was an electric car designed by Keith Helfet, who also designed the Jaguar XJ220 and the Jaguar F-type concept. Optimal Energy’s CEO Kobus Meiring suggested that rising fuel cost and taxes prompted the company to produce an alternatively powered vehicle.
Originally, the Joule was to be a six-seat vehicle, but before the public showing at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show it was changed to having five seats. It featured an electric engine that had a range of 93 miles and a recharge time of 10-12 hours. Top speed was governed at 84 mph but could go from 0-60 in less than five seconds. It weighed 2,646 pounds and could turn in a 33-foot radius.
In 2010 a limited supply of Joules were produced in a union with Hi-Tech Automotive from Port Elizabeth, and expected to be sold in South Africa and Europe from 2014 on, but with the cease of production in 2012 and the announcement of Optimal Energy closing, it never took place.
Image Caption: The Joule at Geneva Motor Show 2010. Credit: Boing-boing/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)