Optimal Energy has unveiled the all-electric Joule at the Geneva Motor Show. Full details inside.

South Africa-based Optimal Energy has unveiled the all-electric Joule at the Geneva Motor Show.

Designed by Keith Helfet, the Joule went from a static model to a near-production vehicle with the assistance of Zagato's Total Design Center. Compared to the original concept, shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the ‘new' Joule features revised styling and production-ready equipment.

Hand-built by Hi-Tech Automotive, the display vehicle is just one of 100 prototypes which will be made for testing, development, and marketing purposes. When the car enters full-scale production in late 2012, parts will be supplied by Germany's EDAG and South Korea's Energy Innovation Group (they will supply the batteries).

Specifications include a high strength steel chassis, a regenerative braking system, and a 36 kWh tractio battery. The latter powers a transversely-mounted synchronous electric motor with 75 kW (101 hp / 102 PS) and 280 Nm (207 lb-ft) of torque. Connected to a single-speed reduction gearbox, the motor enables the Joule to accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in less than 15 seconds and hit a top speed of 135 km/h (84 mph). While it's not fast, the Joule will have a maximum range of 230 km (143 miles) based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) or 300 km (186 miles) using the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS). When the battery is drained, owners simply plug the car into a single-phase 230v / 16A outlet.

According to company CEO Kobus Meiring, "Optimal Energy is capitalizing on South Africa's technological prowess, its track record of building premium cars for the export market, the current sea change in transport technology brought about by climate change, pollution and energy security issues, and the immense progress in battery technology. Interest in Joule has been enormous both at a local and international level. Current market conditions are slowing down the traditional manufacturers' efforts while the market - especially for clean vehicles - is predicted to be in a strong upward swing from 2012 onwards."

Look for the Joule to go on sale in Europe in mid-2013, with a base price of roughly €24,300 (at current exchange rates).

Check out the press release for additional information

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