The CSIR and South Africa's electric vehicle developer, Optimal Energy, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This agreement will support the localisation of the manufacturing of components and parts of Joule, South Africa's own electric vehicle.
Joule, South Africa's own electric vehicle, will soon benefit from the CSIR's expertise in fibre-based composites, light metal casting, additive manufacturing and micro-manufacturing, thanks to an MOU signed between the research organisation and Optimal Energy
According to Dr Liesbeth Botha, executive director at the CSIR, the research organisation has many ongoing projects under its advanced manufacturing strategy that can assist Optimal Energy with replacing imported components with locally manufactured ones.
"Most of our advanced manufacturing expertise lies with the development of manufacturing processes," she explains. "Here we specifically wanted to focus our research and development energies on electric vehicles and their components, along with the many synergies these enjoy with the aerospace industry."
Some projects that will be involved with the Optimal Energy MOU includes fibre-based composites for interior panels, light metal casting for structural components such as motor brackets, micro components such as temperature and pressure sensors that can be manufactured through additive manufacturing processes and the testing of batteries.
"We are also in the process of expanding our intellectual property portfolio in batteries. This is with a view to be the R&D partner for the international electric vehicle battery manufacturer when it is onboard at a later stage," says Botha. "Our expertise in nano-based cathode materials is currently enjoying a great deal of attention."
She concludes that the CSIR is looking forward to an ongoing relationship with Optimal Energy that would be beneficial to the entire South African automotive industry. "I believe that we have much value to add in this industry and we appreciate the opportunity to do so with a forward-thinking partner such as Optimal Energy."