“I refer you to the following link which details Optimal Energy’s plans to mothball the Joule. I believe in the fullness of time, “mothball” will turn out to be a euphemism for “cancel”. http://business.iafrica.com/businessday/790300.html
Without wishing to appear as if I’m saying “I told you so”, I nonetheless want to remind the public that I warned about the exact difficulties Optimal Energy now faces almost four years ago. I wrote extensively on the subject and was interviewed at length on Carte Blanche on the issue, so it is all a matter of public record.
Some of the specific issues I raised related to the amount of funding needed to bring a new car to market, the utter absurdity of Optimal Energy’s claimed production forecasts for the vehicle, and of course, competition from vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf which is already in production.
More seriously, at the time I raised these concerns, the total investment in the Joule amounted to R150 million of taxpayers’ money, courtesy of the IDC. I see from the article that the total investment in Joule now amounts to R300m of the IDC’s money. That means the taxpayer has contributed an additional R150m to Kobus Meiring’s white elephant with no real assurance of how this money is to be made back. This carries eerie echoes of a previous white elephant which Meiring was involved with, the Rooivalk attack helicopter.
My opinion is that Optimal Energy’s business plan is either hopelessly deficient or non-existent and that both the company and the IDC should be called to account for wasting R300m on a pipe dream when South Africa has far more pressing funding needs and an already-vibrant motor industry.
I believe a full enquiry needs to be made into how public money could have been wasted so needlessly on a private enterprise which clearly had little hope of success.”
For further information, contact:
Rob Handfield – Jones