Joule, Africa?s first electric car

Dassault Systèmes (DS) (Paris:DSY), a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, announced that Optimal Energy, South African car manufacturer, will develop Joule, Africa’s first battery-powered vehicle, with the DS V6 solutions.

Optimal Energy will rely on Dassault Systèmes CATIA and ENOVIA V6 for product design and data management. With the objective to transform the face of the urban transportation landscape with a dynamic, “real world” electric vehicle, Joule boasts ample room space, a top speed of 135 km/h and a nominal range of 300 km on a single charge.

“There are not many electric cars on the market at the moment, but most of the concepts that have been seen are quite small cars,” said Anton Greeff, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Optimal Energy. “Ours is built to be an urban driving solution that’s comfortable with a distinctive and attractive design.” Several prototypes of Joule are already on the road, and the car will be available for sale to the public end of 2012.

Optimal Energy chose to adopt the DS solutions in order to benefit from the technical capabilities of an OEM, which has built its experience over many decades, in a short amount of time. “Perfectly targeted toward the automotive market, the DS solutions have sped up our learning curve tremendously,” said Greeff.

With many of Optimal Energy’s automotive suppliers and system developers based in Europe or the Far East, the company chose ENOVIA V6’s integrated collaboration platform to provide all actors with an access to a single version of the truth, from initial requirements to production. “Everything is in the same platform and interconnected. If someone needs information on the product, there is only one place they have to go and look,” said Anton Greeff.

Working with partners and suppliers from a distance can drive up costs and generate delays. To alleviate this problem, Optimal Energy chose ENOVIA 3DLIVE so that people can collaborate on the same model in real time over the Internet. “Using 3DLIVE to communicate visually with those responsible for building the car and not having to travel back and forth constantly to see the model on a CAD station is very important for us,” said Jako von Molendorff, Configuration Manager, Optimal Energy.

“As a young company, Optimal Energy needed to make a strong impression in a market already dominated by car manufacturing veterans. That Optimal Energy chose V6 to express its fervent commitment to protect the environment as well as its desire to build a electric car that is truly an alternative to most electric vehicles on the market today is something we are very pleased with,” said Laurent Couillard, vice president PLM value selling EMEA, Dassault Systèmes.

As a zero-emission vehicle with a minimal environmental footprint, Joule is as clean and green as it is quiet. Presenting a radical reduction in noise pollution, Joule is approximately five times more energy efficient than petrol or diesel vehicles, with substantially less pollution and green house gas emissions in an urban environment. Joule is battery operated and recharges with electricity from any source.

When obtained from clean sources such as wind power, hydro or solar, this multi-source energy carrier can lead to a 100% reduction in pollution. Better still, Joule’s rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are recyclable and contain no heavy metals. These benefits collectively contribute to making Joule an environmentally sound investment. Joule’s rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are recyclable and contain no heavy metals.

Optimal Energy (Pty) Ltd is a privately owned South African company based in Cape Town. Their passion for renewable, clean energy is manifested in Joule, Optimal Energy’s first product offering, which is set to transform the face of the urban transportation landscape. Optimal Energy’s in-house expertise and intellectual property are focused on design, development, branding and marketing, and currently employs more than 100 staff, while still expanding rapidly.

As a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 115,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling.

The Dassault Systèmes portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product – SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design – DELMIA for virtual production – SIMULIA for virtual testing – ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences. Dassault Systèmes’ shares are listed on Euronext Paris (#13065, DSY.PA) and Dassault Systèmes’ ADRs may be traded on the US Over-The-Counter (OTC) market (DASTY).