Monday, March 30, 2009
Interview with Gerhard Swart - Systems Engineer of South Africa's EV [JOULE]
Electric Vehicles aren't quite as novel as we like to think. The first ever vehicles were electric, and the milk vans in many suburbs were the same. So are golf vans and busses in many communities. Mass production for commercial use is a different kettle of fish.
Gerhard is an affable chap who grew up in Zimbabwe. He said he learned how to innovate and engineer from his father, where they were often not able to get the sort of help on the farm they needed it was a case of boer maak 'n plan [a farmer makes a plan]. Gerhard and his 3 partners previous worked on the Rooivalk (weapons engineering etc) at DENEL as well as on the SALT project; a very advanced Large Telescope array in South Africa.
With the Joule they wanted to give something back.
Notice the red lines adjacent to the graph of oil prices. I support their view that oil prices are likely to spike rapidly upwards in the coming months.
Gerhard presented his ideas at an INCOSE meeting. There were several engineers present and some debate evolved over whether a successful roll out couldn't be eclipsed by a Japanese automaker steamrolling the idea and using their own economies of scale and scope. There is another possibility entirely, which is that a country or company will buy them out. Whatever the result, this is exceedingly good news for South Africa, although not a long term solution.
Watch the video of Gerhard's Presentation below.
Many thanks to Francois Retief and Siebert Benade for facilitating the trip.
More on this topic here.