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Just have a think, ICE cars and power generation

Guest Sarel

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Just have a think, ICE cars and power generation 👀🧠

Lets have a proper look at the SA scenario for the future, regarding ICE cars and EVs and the outlook for power generation. So why look at this you may ask? Easy answer, this is not.

My distinctly charcoal grey Crystal ball🔮 is a bit foggy about the future. One thing thou is that the Legal framework and idiotic ideology in SA will not change anytime soon. The fraud, graft and ineptitude of the Cleptocracy will snowball if any of the current proposals for bee and other new legislation (or just look at the Powership story) are anything to go by. Now, I hate being negative, but all the years gone by has proof in and of itself, this is barreling along. I am a realist, just for the record.

But back to ICE cars end Escam. Worldwide, many counties enacted new legislation, or are about to, to either ban ICE cars or pivot manufacturing to alternative technologies like BEV’s. Lets unpack.

In less than 10 years, the production of ICE cars will plummet by a significant %. When that materialises, SA’s exports will be affected as Japan and Europe will want to keep employing their own people, so guess where factories will be closed first? Also a consequence of less demand for ICE cars will be less development for new models and a reduction of parts produced for maintenance. As electronics are updated, older chips and systems will no longer be available to manufacture the computers for older generation cars. The end game will be for ICE car manufacturing to collapse due to unavailability of parts as well as the cost to build the low volumes, making them very expensive.

What will happen to industrial machines and other heavy equipment, maybe they pivot to electricity as well. There are numerous very large (100 tonne and larger) mining trucks that are electric powered or assisted, already. Diesel electric trains can all be converted to electric only. We currently have Gautrain that is electric only. The first electric ships and planes are currently being tested.

Here is the rub. When ICE dies, not if, Africa will have a problem. In 2008 there was the joke about what comes after electricity for SA, and its candlepower…. With SA on a downward trend 📉 in Eskom and no relief from policy or ideology, there will be no power to support BEV’s, let alone the population at large. We have frequent shortages as it is.

In the below picture, Red represents the occurrence of unplanned outages, hint, its a trend… Green trends downwards and is another trend. Over time, less and less generating capacity remains online and available.



Not green is NOT good.



Percentages of populations with a grid connection as well as how available or reliable that is. If its not available, it translates to loads being shed or no energy been available for those clients, or worse none at all.



It looks like there are huge changes coming, with many forms of disruptions to boot. Look at industries like IT, based on silicon (just look what computers did to cars, both as controller and optimisers of combustion as well as to the design and aerodynamics via CFD, to name a few, there are many more). Energy from Solar PV (also based mostly on silicon and benefitting from the IT technology pure silicon gains and developments) now being the least expensive energy generation tech, Transportation and Space travel with the possibility of living elsewhere, however far fetched it is today. Another big technology being disrupted is that of energy storage. We never before a short few years ago, had the means of Utility class energy storage. Now look at the Gigawatt en recently Terawatt hours battery storage systems. 5 years ago, Utility scale battery storage was not a thing, now it is. And it is cheap and getting cheaper at a very fast rate. Studies show that soon if not already, Solar PV and Battery storage systems will be less expensive to build, compared to traditional systems like Coal or Nuclear, and be far less costly to maintain.

Think about superconducting materials and the revolution that has happened there and in materials science in general. Now look at the latest materials technology in Carbon Nano materials. Currently the best known heat and electric conductor known. And the Carbon Nano materials are only now coming online for production use. Now, to prove the point of rapid development and disruption, smartphones are barely more than 10 years old, and see what they have done and disrupted and how quickly, just look at Twitter, Facebook and Google…. And remember when the Telephone was invented, how long did that took in comparison, to disrupt the market compared to smartphones that was doing so much faster. Another example is the car itself, it disrupted horse drawn vehicles and replaced then is just more than 10 year during the beginning of the 1900s.

A few pointers on the cost reduction of disruption. IT and Moor’s law, a doubling of transistor count every 18 months. Storage increase of about 50% capacity per year or if you like a density increase for same cost or the cost for same storage capacity halves. Look at battery cost reducing by 20% per year and almost the same for Solar PV panels. In total Solar PV costs reduced 400X since the 1970s already, and it keeps on falling. Networking and digital sensors are being transformed nearly as fast or faster with associated cost reductions per unit.

Where does this leave us on the African continent? In 20 to 30 years for us, there is a high probability that ICE cars and motorcycles will be utterly unaffordable if not completely unavailable. At the current trend of not properly maintaining the Coal fired generators, there will no longer be cheap or reliable energy available, if the ideology does not change. The prospects of this and the next generation changing their ideological outlook is slim to none, bar a catastrophic intervention. There is talk of Solar and Wind but I hear noting about storage and to boot, there are currently Zero and Nil Utility scale batteries connected to the grid in Africa. Calculations show that with Current technology, we need Solar PV sizing to be 4x larger than demand and just enough battery storage to cater for between 2 and 4 days worth of demand. With these ratios, we can replace base load generating stations. Imagine the efficiency and the astronomical cost savings. Oh wait, I just remembered, its not about cost savings here, its about contracts awarded to bee buddies at max value and max overrun….

Let’s remember that during the early 1900, the World suffered through an influenza pandemic, not unlike the current one. Not even that or a World war cold stop the Car disruption and transformation. Now today, think how much less you are driving due to the pandemic and why? Other technologies referred to above are aiding and abetting that your personal transportation is less of a requirement, yes even in SA, and more of a luxury. You work online, shop online, chat online etc etc.

In summary then, this is just scratching the surface. The IT revolution led to the Energy revolution that includes Solar PV and Battery storage. This will cause in short order, the total decline of ICE cars to be replaced by far cheaper BEV cars. The maintenance on tases BEVs are about a 1/4 of that for ICE cars. This will leave us with a transport issue and shortage of cars since we do not have and are not planning for BEVs nor for a proper legal framework for energy generation to support BEVs.

What to do, any ideas or comments? How to solve this or just how to deal with this? Let’s remember that everything is devolving from centralised to decentralised, for example the mainframe to mobile devices, banks to online banking services. Travel by car and plane to online meetings, from shopping malls to online purchases and delivery from warehouses. Nobody owns the internet and it’s distributed everywhere. The same is busy happening to transport and energy and soon food, Worldwide. It’s inevitable that these trends will hit us hard…. Sooner rather than later.

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Come to think of it, Solar PV prices keeps on falling year after year, just like IT that drives silicon pricing down. Coal, Nuclear, Diesel, Gas and Hydro prices keeps on rising year after year…. Wonder what the logical outcome will be? Not to mention the fact that apart from Solar panels, most of the pricing of the other extracted fuels is in the form of tax. Nice Cleptocracy with all them taxes, not?

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And we have this gem:

IEEFA August 20, 2021

Eskom plans 30% reduction of coal-fired power generation

In South Africa, Eskom has announced the closure of several of its coal-fired power stations in the coming months and years. The state-owned company wants to rely on the renewable energies that have been massively produced  (my emphesis) in the country in recent years. (This is really shoddy reporting by them, The facts are, all RE is only just above 10% today. They contradict themselves below anyways.)

Eskom is not definitively turning its back on fossil fuels. But the South African state-owned company intends to close several of its coal-fired power stations operating in the country. The objective for the current decade is to reduce its coal-fired power generation capacity from 8 000 to 12 000 MW. This represents 30% of its current installed capacity. The company, led by businessman Andre Marinus de Ruyter, has an installed capacity of 42,000 MW.

Most of this electricity is generated from coal-fired power stations operating in several provinces in South Africa. Eskom’s ambition is fuelled by the global decarbonisation movement, as global warming accelerates due to polluting infrastructure such as coal-fired power stations. South Africa’s largest electricity producer is also considered the biggest polluter on the African continent.

To achieve its plan, Eskom will have to shut down several ageing power stations. The state-owned company is first targeting the Komati power station. The plant, built in the 1970s, has a 300-metre chimney that is considered the tallest structure in South Africa. After a period of shutdown, the plant, which has a capacity of 1 000 MWe, was recommissioned in the early 2000s. The plant will be completely closed by October 2021.

Eskom plans to replace the coal with solar PV, with a plant equipped with a 244 MWh battery storage system. Before 2025, three other coal-fired power plants will close permanently. These are Grootvlei (1 200 MWe), Hendrina (2 000 MWe) and Camden (1 561 MWe), all in Mpumalanga province. Eskom is expected to get rid of most of its coal-fired power stations by 2050, with a $10 billion investment in renewable energy.

[Jean Marie Takouleu]

If anybody knows the state of the various initiatives as far as construction and completion goes on the battery storage tenders, please add those here. I will get and add the actula renewables versus coal and Nuke later.

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Escam’s own data shows 40% renewables by 2030. However independent data showing the planned rollout indicates otherwise, only about 24.7% by 2030.



All the more the data and facts show us, this is going to turn an ugly shade of brown….



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And from that same report a summary:

Provision has been made for the following new additional capacity by 2030:
∞ 1,500MW of coal;
∞ 2,500MW of hydro;
∞ 6,000MW of solar PV;
∞ 14,400MW of wind;
∞ 1,860MW of nuclear;
∞ 2,088MW for storage;
∞ 3,000MW of gas/diesel; and
∞ 4,000MW from other distributed generation, co-generation, biomass and landfill technologies.

what is significant to note is the absence of co-generation o self generation.

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And about a month ago, Escam CEO said the following in front of the presidential climate comission:

The projects being considered consist of:

  • 1,566.2 megawatts of solar power
  • 600 megawatts of wind power
  • 4,000 megawatts of gas-fired power
  • 61 megawatts of battery storage
  • 1,400 megawatts from micro-grids
  • 390 megawatts from pumped storage, a type of hydro power

link here


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Oh I think you've identified a problem with the trend towards EVs.

Firstly, I'm not in the same camp as Jeremy Clarkson who once parked an EV outside of a smoking power station and argued that all you're doing is moving your carbon footprint from you right foot to more power stations. Well... kind of... but power stations turn out to be more efficient than the ICE as used in cars. ICEs in cars have to be able to accelerate and are constantly changing speed - which means most of the time they aren't running efficiently. So Clarkson's smoky power station burns less carbon fuel per horse power than most ICEs.

But still, the load on grids is going to increase. I read an interesting thing about power in the UK yesterday. Turns out that they actually are not self sufficient in this regard. They can mostly get by, but they are need and are able to buy from other countries along 6 cables when demand is high. And if those other utilities have spare capacity. One of the countries to which they have such links is France. And this is where we feel the invisible hand of the market, because energy providers in France might not feel like selling to the grid in the UK because, right now, they can get a better price elsewhere. So the UK either has to increase the price it's prepared to pay, or import from elsewhere, or look to make reductions in use. Mostly it works because they have agreements with multiple countries and the price is always right somewhere.

This situation just got worsened by breaks to the cables that link UK to France (who so far this year have provided between 7 & 8 % of electricity consumed in the UK). ETA for a repair is spring 2022, and the UK by itself doesn't have capacity for the Christmas season which is when their grid is most heavily loaded. 

Now throw in a scenario where all cars are electric and having to be charged all the time and what is the poor old UK going to do now? They have to get that juice from somewhere. And it's no use saying that what they don't sell on the forecourts they can burn in power stations because they also don't want power stations that burn stuff.

OK... let's put the UK aside. I think a lot of countries are going to end up with this conundrum.

So I was fascinated recently to see one of the big Japanese manufacturers, Nissan IIRC, saying on some TV business show that they were NOT committing to go full EV by a certain date because they believed that governments had miscalculated or given into sentiment, and so they expected regulations to change, and because they still sell a lot of cars in markets where the government is not thinking in terms of mandating EVs.

They thought that hybrids and improved ICEs were where they wanted to go.

Ironically motorsport, famous for guzzling gas and whatever else is needed, and to heck with ... anything really, may be of help here.

Last year's F1 cars were the fastest we have ever seen in this sport (they are slower this year because of changes to the aerodynamic rules), but in 2014 the sport moved from 2.4 liter ICEs with some energy recovery, to 1.5 liter ICEs with lots of energy recovery and the fuel allowed per race slashed by 1/3. Yet within 5 years they were breaking lap records all over the place. The efficiency of those engines is now significantly better than anything found in road-going vehicles. So the question is how to transfer what they have learned to road vehicles? 

Ironically, one of the systems that gave them a lot of energy recovery is likely to be dropped. This is called the MGU-H, basically it recovers heat and exhaust energy that the turbocharger would normally throw away, convert it to electricity and feed it to the battery pack. It works, but it's very difficult and very expensive. So probably that will go and they will stick with the more conventional KERS systems (recovering of energy lost through breaking). Even there they have already made significant gains in size and efficiency and in the control electronics. So there will still be technology that should trickle down into the real world.

F1 introduced a limited KERs in 2008. They kept the regulations pretty loose except to limit the amount that could be fed back into the drive train. A clear hint that what they wanted was the teams to make their KERS small and light and efficient - with the hope that they could then sell this to real world manufacturers.

Some of this technology did transfer. Notably the Williams team went a different route from the rest. Most teams were busy with lithium batteries or super capactitors, Williams went for a flywheel solution. It worked very well, but it was difficult to get the size down for the tight packaging necessary for an open wheel formula racing car. The tech did do well in other types of racing (closed wheel cars with bigger bodies where there was no aero price to pay) and then they licensed the technology to (IIRC) GKN who used it to build systems for public transport which significantly improved their efficiency and thus reduced emissions. Now Williams have sold the tech - but earn a royalty per unit installed.

F1 teams have lots of clever people who can solve lots of types of problems. Look at how when the lock down started and their season was put on hold they quickly knocked up a low cost ventilator that could be used in hospitals and made the 3d printing files freely available. One of the teams, a few years ago, worked with the RAF to improve their reloading and refueling processes for helicopter crews in Afghanistan. A helicopter on the ground is a sitting duck, and so the quicker you get them back off the ground and into action the less money the RAF spends replacing them. Remember that F1 teams now have their pit stops so well organised that they can change 4 tyres in under 3 seconds if there's no human error. This used to be sub-2 seconds, but recent regulatory changes have prevented the use of the automated wheel guns that would also send signals back to a central system that would decide when the car could be released.

But even when tech like this is banned, the F1 teams don't "unlearn" it and can still use it in other places or show/sell it to others.

In endurance racing, for the last few years, hybrid cars are king. Le Mans has been won by hybrids for getting on a decade now, even diesel hybrids. 

Good old NASCAR with it's red neck image is mandating bio fuel with less emissions.  Indycar are also working on bringing their emissions down and are planning to allow hybrid engines. F1 is introducing a requirement, ramping up each year, for fuel to be a certain proportion of bio fuel.

So I think Nissan are right. The hybrid and therefore the ICE is not a dead duck yet. F1's success with hybrids (race times up on 1/3 of the fuel) shows the gains in efficiency that can be made, and less fuel burned obviously means less emissions.

And so that's what I'd like to see - cleaner burning fuels (City of Johannesburg now has most of their bus fleet running on gas) and high-tech hybrid engines. Because I think that's realistic, can bring significant gains, and is realisable a whole lot quicker if the 4 companies that build F1 engines decide to share some IP. (Nissan already have an IP share deal with Renault because they have shared ownership). If you could go to those government and say that you can slash emissions to 1/3 in 5 years would they not jump at that?

The one thing that counts against this is definitions of what is or isn't a "hybrid" of sufficient efficiency. The scandal involving VW in the USA showed how hard it is to police this sort of thing in the real world. So it's much easier to just mandate EVs because there it's simple - if you have to put gas or liquid fuel  in it then it's not an EV. Easily policed.

Edited by Bobster
Multiple edits for spelling and clarity.
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Following on from the above blatherings, why are Ferrari, Renault, Honda (for the time being) and Mercedes continuing to spend billions on constant development of these high tech hybrids? Because somebody has to supply poor old F1? Or because they think that technology still holds relevance for them in the real world?

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2 hours ago, Bobster said:

Last year's F1 cars were the fastest we have ever seen in this sport (they are slower this year because of changes to the aerodynamic rules), but in 2014 the sport moved from 2.4 liter ICEs with some energy recovery, to 1.5 liter ICEs with lots of energy recovery and the fuel allowed per race slashed by 1/3.

Sorry, this should be "slashed by 2/3". IE fuel allowed per race now is 1/3 of what was allowed in 2013.

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Nuclear energy has a bad rap because of one or two bad incidents. Chernobyl was design fault and human error. Fukushima got flooded by a tsunami (the rest of Japan's nuclear stations survived the actual earthquake.

But France, which is a world leader in low-emission energy generation has a predominantly nuclear grid and isn't famous for having meltdowns every 2 years. I also not that there is a fledgling business in the USA of replacing decommissioned coal burning plants with nuclear plants. Because all the infrastructure for getting stuff to the site and for feeding the generated power into the grid is in place. So you build a small nuclear generation on the old foundations and you start getting extra power into the grid without any smoke.

Nuclear reportedly has an extra bad rap in this country because of attempts at dodgy and not good for the country deals that were tried under the previous President. So nobody wants to say "nuclear" at a power conference now because they'll be perceived as a self-enriching member Gupta crony.

SA should have moved when those pebble bed reactors were proposed.

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Nice topic Sarel. My 2c for what it's worth.


I agree nuclear is a minor safety concern if done properly, coal kills many people in this country every year directly and indirectly. My greatest concern with nuclear is the waste, the amount generated might seem small, but on utility scales the quantities of radioactive waste become scary, especially considering the unfathomable timescales involved. There are possible solutions for long term waste storage "Into Eternity" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_Eternity_(film)) is a good record of the Finnish proposed solution. It would be interesting to see the comparative cost per energy unit if a long term waste storage solution such as this is factored in for nuclear. Now if we can get fusion going, then we will see an industrial revolution like no other before!


With regards to the EV transition in Africa, I agree that we will definitely see change, how it will look and how fast is anyone's guess. I believe supply and demand will play a big role still, it is the same as we saw with renewables. Morals are one thing, but as soon as renewables became cheaper than fossils the rate of adoption picked up exponentially; I believe BEVs will follow a similar trend, but as long as total cost of ownership for ICE is lower, it will still dominate demand and supply.


We would also be a bit screwed if we suddenly go to 100% BEVs in SA/Africa, vehicles use a lot of energy, energy which Eskom is currently not generating or capable of generating.




556 623 TJ x 79% x 98% = 119 705 GWh for on road transport in 2016 in SA covered by petroleum products.

Let us say an ICE is 20% efficient and a BEV is 70% efficient and we want to convert 90% of on road transport to BEVs.

So 90% x 119 705 GWh / (70/20) = 30 781 GWh of electrical energy we would need.

To cover this from a coal source with current Eskom availability of 60.8% that gives us 365 x 24 x 60.8% = 5326 hours per year so 30 781 GWh / 5326 = 5.8 GWe of capacity required, that is another 1.2 Medupis or Kusiles to cover 90% of 50% of the countries petroleum consumption.

For solar PV, we would have around 365 x 6 x 90% = 1971 hours per year so around 15.62 GWe of solar PV required, that is another 16 REIPPPP bid window 5s!

In other words we would need a lot more electrical production to cover transport, and that is only in SA, generally the rest of Africa is still much more reliant on the dinosaur algae.

Now an interesting opportunity is if we can successfully utilize the BEVs for grid connected storage. With 90 kWh batteries becoming common in BEVs it would be very powerful if we have a few million individuals hooking their vehicles to the grid when not used for transport. I believe the UK has a smarter form of billing in certain parts where this can actually earn you money when feeding in from your storage during higher load times and then recharging during lower load periods.

Edited by JAOG
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Aaand the tree shook. 🤙🏻 Firstly what we want is like when Ford asked the owners of horses what they really wanted, the answer was faster horses 🐎 🤪 This is a fundamentals issue. ICE cars engines are at best 20% efficient, the rest of the fuel energy is wasted as heat and friction. In an EV, about 59-62 percent of the electrical energy from the grid goes to turning the wheels, whereas gas combustion vehicles only convert about 17-21 percent of energy from burning fuel into moving the car. So purely in using its energy, BEVs are 3x more efficient. When charged from Solar energy in comparison to fossil fuel based energy, the BEV systems efficiency is about 9X better. Petrol is two to three times more expensive per energy unit than electricity.

The reason for the inefficiency is thermodynamics. The theoretical upper limit to a heat engine’s efficiency is ~30% ish. The real problem the World, and us, faces is that already Solar PV energy is vastly less expensive than fossil or nuclear based energy sources, includinh hydro. Ok ok, hold your horses for a while first….

Any fossil or hydro or nuclear based power generation plant costs 4X more to operate (at least) than current Solar PV. Even if you get the generation plant for free, Solar PV is vastly less expensive to operate. As of today, Solar PV plus Wind plus Battery storage (SWBs) are way less expensive to build than traditional, way way faster to build and way more efficient than traditional power generation based on any of the other technologies. In summary, SWBs will be and order of magnitude more efficient, and will continue to become more efficient (less expensive over time) in comparison.

Nobody is suggesting that Oil will be dead or coal fired generation will die in 10 years time, but by then Solar and battery storage will again have reduced its cost by a few times. Wind cost will not drastically reduce over time. Everything considered as outlined above, ICE will be niche only and very expensive in 10 to 20 years time. And we will still not have enough energy to support BEVs at all. Just look at the planned expansion by or well loved utility, it will hardly cover the little growth in the economy we can hope and prey for.

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3 hours ago, Bobster said:

SA should have moved when those pebble bed reactors were proposed.

I know some of the engineers that were on that project. I also remember shortly after that almost R18 Billion disaster, when still consulting to Eskom, when I had to help recover, preserve and archive the PBMR project’s data, designs and drawings and other digital artefacts. This took place at the Megawatt Park DC, after we had to recover the IT systems from Centurion.

And here we are talking BEVs. I will share some info on the Joule EV later. We as a country were so close to having a local EV and had the opportunity to export as well. Yet noting today. That is really one step ahead, one mile back.

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Currently ICE is still winning though, everyone is promising BEVs, but as far as I can tell our options are currently i3 or i-Pace, maybe a secondhand Leaf if you really look hard?




You can drive many, many kilometers in a Fiesta before you get to R700k (not even mentioning R2mil) and that excludes any battery replacement costs for the i3. That is what I mean by supply and demand. Once something like a VW ID3 reaches sub R450k ish (inflation and car prices ballooning like they are), then BEVs would be in business in SA, currently we have little options and they make little sense.

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10 minutes ago, Sarel said:

I know some of the engineers that were on that project. I also remember shortly after that almost R18 Billion disaster, when still consulting to Eskom, when I had to help recover, preserve and archive the PBMR project’s data, designs and drawings and other digital artefacts. This took place at the Megawatt Park DC, after we had to recover the IT systems from Centurion.

And here we are talking BEVs. I will share some info on the Joule EV later. We as a country were so close to having a local EV and had the opportunity to export as well. Yet noting today. That is really one step ahead, one mile back.

Those Joule details would be cool to hear 👍

Also not sold on Eskom and large scale nuclear, if they can't even manage to purge hydrogen from a generator 🤦‍♂️ It is exactly something like that which you trust should be well covered by comprehensive, fail safe and foolproof procedures... exactly the type of procedures which are crucial for the safe operation of a nuclear plant.

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ICE ICE baby… sorry could not resist…. Agreed today its still ICE. The issue however is not today and its not about anything local apart from the energy issue to run them BEVs. The real issue is Solar PV combined with Wind and Batteries (SWBs) The cost reduction for SWBs will create an event that will suddenly reduce ICE and fossils demand by 80 or 90% in a decade or so from now. That is when we will be up the proverbial. 

No manufacturer will design new ICE (of the ones that are still in business) so soon we will run out of factories locally. We can only hope some will convert to BEVs. That still leaves the energy issue, how to get enough energy to charge em and keep the lights on som to speak.

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14 minutes ago, Sarel said:

ICE ICE baby… sorry could not resist…. Agreed today its still ICE. The issue however is not today and its not about anything local apart from the energy issue to run them BEVs. The real issue is Solar PV combined with Wind and Batteries (SWBs) The cost reduction for SWBs will create an event that will suddenly reduce ICE and fossils demand by 80 or 90% in a decade or so from now. That is when we will be up the proverbial. 

No manufacturer will design new ICE (of the ones that are still in business) so soon we will run out of factories locally. We can only hope some will convert to BEVs. That still leaves the energy issue, how to get enough energy to charge em and keep the lights on som to speak.

Ah maybe I misunderstood, are we listing problems in SA, in that case my typing skills are not capable to keep up with my ramblings 🙉😂 At least it keeps it interesting, we do not have to go looking for problems to keep ourselves busy with like the yanks.

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7 minutes ago, JAOG said:

Ah maybe I misunderstood, are we listing problems in SA, in that case my typing skills are not capable to keep up

Man, it’s complicated. You know about the butterfly effect on the global weather kinda thing. Its all about local effect, but we are not isolated from happenings in the rest of the World. In fact, we very much depend on it. Every technology is imported, or at least the IP is imported. We nowadays depend on others with very little local innovation compared to others.

So all our car manufacturing plants depends on their respective motherships. If or rather when BMW, MB, Toyota, Ford etc say no more, where does that leave us when they are fighting for survival? Or when they have lost the BEV market and their ICE market. Its like the then Nokia CEO said when smartphones took over “We have done nothing wrong, but we still lost” 

This is what I see coming at us, at speed….

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I wouldn't mind if they build these in Silverton:


I hear you though, it all depends on what the execs decide though, there are some good signs that at least some of them are interested in the future (https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2021/02/02/ford-expand-south-african-manufacturing.html) the KZN fiasco and Toyota aside.


I worry more about Eskom, they have already priced themselves out of the market, everyone from your local everyday Andy to the mining houses are jumping on self generation, cutting out the need for the Eskom generation side. Typically also much more distributed and closer to the point of consumption, largely cutting out the need for the Eskom transmission side. They screech baseload, but with the SWBs and specifically utility scale storage as you mentioned, I struggle to see how Eskom will compete as a business in the (very) near future, I believe they simply missed the renewable bus and I hope the communists in their infinite non-wisdom stop throwing our money at the sinking ship in time.

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This will make you cry for our beloved country. Basterds…. This is what the CancER does. It’s not whats good for the country, more like whats in it for the CancER. A repeat in another way of the boiler contracts fiasco with Medupi and Kusile, this time with ships.


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So hear this, taxing the Sun. Who you laughing at…. And a bit more on the Joule.

The first proposals to tax your generator was made already. Another crony institution proposes to tax you for watching streaming services over the internet. And they have not done anything to enable any such service use, nor provided any content. eToll anybody....

What they are really saying is this: We provide a crap service so nobody wants to pay our salaries or sponsor our graft by using our service, therefore we will tax our competition to earn the money we don’t deserve.

Its the same everywhere in our Cleptocracy, from Escam to SAA to SABC to your municipality. In the latter case, if you go solar, they charge you for a new meter and pay you noting as a feed in tariff, and that is apart from all the approval fees. Then on top of that you get to pay per time of day usage tariffs and also get slapped with a Solar tariff minimum charge. Tax the Sun, its hidden in there, in broad Sunshine. So, effectively, they want to charge you extra for not using their service! Monopolies sure suck….

The year 2020 was for SA some record, as 92 electric cars were sold in the country. Also only about 1000 EVs were sold to date since 2015. The Eskom CEO noted that the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa warned last year that the country's motor industry could lose 80% of its exports by 2040, as countries announce timetables to prohibit the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles.

"This therefore calls for South Africa to take the lead, and prepare to exploit this opportunity and produce electric vehicles for export, as well as for domestic use." We do not have our own to produce. The CancER killed off the Joule by Optimal energy.

The project was partially government-funded and the project was part of the Department of Science & Technology (DST). Few private investors contributed to the project and the car was meant to go on sale in 2014 but the company was closed by 2012. Optimal Energy failed to get more investors for the project as it was seriously taking huge amounts of money due to the project becoming more expensive. This made the project to be pushed back several times before it was finally cancelled. With no investors, the South African government pulled the plug on the idea. 

For reference, Solar PV panels pricing dropped by 82% between 2010 and 2020. If we follow this trend (all indications are that the cost reductions will) to 2030, costs will reduce again by at least 70%. Wind generation costs reduced by almost 50% for the same period, and will also drop some more on the same curve, say about another 40% by 2030. For the same periods as above, Lithium based batteries costs reduced by almost 90% and the industry predicts another almost 80% drop, again by 2030.

All price reductions combined, its easy to envisage a system that by 2030 will cost between 60 and 80% less than today. Keep in mind that globally, Solar PV systems are today, already the cheapest energy generator in our history. All other fossil based generation, just keeps on getting more expensive by the year. The Joule could have been great and benefitted both SA and Eskom.

So more about the Joule then, info on this thing is scarce.

It was created, designed and manufactured (pilot manufacturing only) in SA. Tesla's Roadster had just been launched in 2010 IIRC.

This was Optimal Energy's Website late 2011.


Their intro and info blurb.



Sorry, this is all I have, the quality is not great.

And a picture of one of the build models.



The Joule Specifications

  • Length - 3.8 m (150 in)
  • Turning Circle - 10.2 m (33 ft)
  • Mass - 1,200 kg (2,646 lb)
  • Seats - Five
  • Boot space - 700 L (25 cu ft)
  • Top Speed - Governed at 135 km/h (84 mph)
  • Acceleration - 0–60 km/h in less than 5 sec
  • Range - 150 km (93 mi) to 300 km (186 mi)
  • Charge time - The battery has a nominal recharge time of 10–12 hours


A small pilot fleet of Joules was manufactured in conjunction with Hi-Tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth during 2010. The car was expected to be sold in South Africa as well as Europe from 2014, but production ceased in April 2012 after Optimal Energy failed to find a commercial partner. Optimal Energy announced its intention to close down in June 2012. It was widely reported in the media that the company was bleeding cash, the production date had been pushed back four times, and the proposed sales figures were unrealistic. Optimal Energy required more than R2bn to bring the model to production, by which time it would have been obsolete. With the private sector unwilling to invest, the government declined to commit more taxpayers' money to an enterprise which was not commercially viable.


Energy is supplied by a modular, large-cell, lithium-ion battery pack with sufficient capacity to provide a nominal range of 300km.


A regenerative braking system for normal driving is used whereby energy recovered with this system goes back into the battery, adding to the car’s range. Four ventilated disk brakes with ABS for emergency braking come standard.


The body consists of a steel space frame with a combination of composite (glass and carbon) and plastic body panels. Side impact protection is provided by high strength steel cross-bars in the doors.


The chassis is a flat wafer structure and is the key to Joule’s spacious and versatile interior. The chassis comprises front and rear crumple zones, the batteries and electronics bays; it also provides attachment points for the suspension.

Integrated Vehicle Computer

A uniquely integrated computer developed from EV specific architecture controls all Joule’s onboard systems. Every battery cell is monitored independently to ensure optimal performance and durability of the battery. An integrated, programmable onboard charger ensures that no external charging infrastructure is required and that charging can be synchronised with off-peak electricity.


Joule incorporates a powerful traction motor with a single speed gearbox for front-wheel drive. From a driving experience the vehicle is completely automatic.


Joule was imagineered as a battery electric vehicle from the outset. No compromises were made for the legacy engine or gearbox related influences in the design and layout, providing optimal interior space with minimal exterior footprint.


Joule, the optimal solution for urban transport sports fast acceleration from a standstill, motorway compatible speed with a top speed of 135 km/h, a tight turning circle, short wheel base and small front and rear overhangs offering a pleasurable driving experience in the modern city environment.


Joule is designed to UN-ECE safety standards, and includes all modern safety features such as side impact protection, ABS and airbags.


Joule’s body and interior styling was designed by Keith Helfet. With its simple, elegant lines and self assured stance Joule has a timeless appeal setting it apart from the crowd.


The suspension provides a safe, comfortable driving experience, specifically tailored for urban use. The front suspension consists of McPherson struts, whilst the rear suspension employs a semi-independent trailing twist beam system.

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Ok, back to on topic and Escamsters....

The EAF was at 67% in 2019, guess where we at now?

The performance and availability of Eskom’s power stations has declined from above 90% (see the grey Actual line) in the early 2000s to an average of 64% in the 2021 financial year. That translates into generation availability of 64.19% of design capacity (according to ESI Africa on 1 Sept 21), or you can look at that as the capacity left after planned and unplanned downtime.



This is insanity....


Already in 2015, Solar PV in SA (Utility scale plant) was cheaper than anything else, and we want to add single digit percentage Solar PV to the mix by 2030....



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