Early next year the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) will launch an electric vehicle programme. This was revealed on Wednesday by TIA CEO Simphiwe Duma during a media briefing in Pretoria.
This programme follows on from the failed Joule electric car project. Although a technical success, the Joule was a commercial failure. “It failed spectacularly in terms of its market penetration,” he asserted.
The problem was that the car had been developed in isolation and fundamental issues had been ignored. Perhaps most importantly, there was no recharging infrastructure in South Africa to support the car and consequently no one was interested in buying it. All business plans, Duma admitted, indicated that the Joule would fail. (It should be noted that the Joule project predated the creation of the TIA and that the agency inherited the project when it was set up.)
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