South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena, would next week unveil a locally-developed electric car at the Paris Motor Show in France, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) announced on Friday.

South African company Optimal Energy and South African automotive designer Keith Helfet designed the multipurpose vehicle, which was named Joule.

The DST had provided Optimal Energy with R50-million in capital from its Innovation Fund to develop the project. The Industrial Development Corporation was also a shareholder in the project.

The development of the project was announced in May this year, with the DST reporting that a passenger and utility vehicle were being designed.

The six-seater vehicle was expected to have a range of between 100 km and 400 km, with solar panels charging the car when parked in the sun.

The DST expected initial production, which would start in 2010, to comprise about 4 000 units a year.