Zero-emission electric vehicles are being punted as the future of the automotive industry. Run by batteries, charged by using a simple wall-plug instead of petrol or diesel, several governments are gearing up for its launch and expected expansion.

The US, for example, has envisaged a fleet of one-million electric vehicles on its roads by 2015, with the government providing $25-billion in soft loans to develop these zero-emission, plug-in cars.
South Africa is also developing its own electric vehicle in the form of the Joule. Optimal Energy hopes to start pilot production of this vehicle in 2010.

CEO Kobus Meiring says the imminent production of the car creates a great opportunity for South Africa to get into The New Oil – or, the production of lithium-ion battery. But, is battery manufacturing viable in South Africa?

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DATED: 10th September 2009