Dirty Tricks Of The Used Car Salesman

Any moons ago as a naive young articled clerk, I went to a used car dealership in Eloff Street Extension and purchased my first dream car. The salesman must have seen me coming from a mile away and he took me to the cleaners and back. In fact, this salesman (Tony, if I recall correctly) couldn't lay straight in bed even if he tried. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold is an old saying, so please allow me to have my revenge and share some dirty tricks that salesmen and dealers get up to.

Funding Issues

There have been two major reasons for the delays in the Joule project. At first we said we would build 4 000 cars a year. The business model was built around that number, and we could do that. However, after the hugely positive response in Paris and when market analysts started confirming our expectations of the electric car market in the next few years, we decided to go for full series production of 50 000 cars or more a year instead. Today, with a very small delta, we can do 4 000 cars a...

The Sa Market

Is Mzansi ready for the electric car The answer may not be what you think. Diana Blake, Optimal Energy's sales and marketing director, certainly believes there is South Africa is actually better-placed than most countries for the electric car, she says. Most people who can afford a car of the Joule's price (R235 000 to R280 000), own a house with a garage with an electrical outlet. Initially Joule will go to fleets in large numbers and we're already in discussion with several companies about...

Behind The Wheel

The prototype vehicles that the CAR team drove in February were hand-built by Jimmy Price's Hi-Tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth, but save for the lack of features such as ESP and airbags, they appear to be almost completely customer-ready. Mr Price needs to be commended on doing an excellent job - this is the first five-door fibreglass car of its type in the world Underneath the Helfet-penned lines (which drew many much better in the metal comments) is a steel spaceframe with a floorplan built...

In The Beginning

Optimal Energy was born in 2004 when its current CEO Kobus Meiring and three of his colleagues were completing the South African Large Telescope (SALT) project in Sutherland. We arrived at a typical 'what next ' point, he recalls. Having always been interested in anything sustainable, Kobus and his colleagues investigated power generation (wind, solar and even waves) before turning their attention to transportation. One of the first clues of a possible solution came from the world of toys. As a...

Ford Escort Rs

Ford Escort Mk2 Minilight

Belonged to an elderly lady in Sandton, sharing a garage with a Jaguar XK150 and a 1930s Rolls Royce. And he picked that one up for R11 000 To give you an idea of what these things cost ex-UK, the block alone goes for R40 000 The blue Mk II RS2000 re-creation is of a different spec altogether. It was built by two Ford enthusiasts, Dan Prins and Johnny van Wyk, and these guys spared no expense in the build-up. Laurie says they showed him receipts totalling R150 000 for all the exotic bits. The...

Features

Pistol-grip gear lever now features on most new BMWs. Current iDrive controller works very well. and close at road speeds of up to 40 km h, and provides reasonable insulation from road noise. Can the 650i Convertible overcome the limitations that afflict most soft-top four seaters, then Not quite. Although some might overlook the limited boot space, four adults can only be accommodated if those seated in front are willing to liberate marginal leg-room for those in the back at the cost of their...

Info

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Local Engineering

What needs to be realised, right from the start, is that a project of the Joule's scale has never before been attempted in South Africa. This country may have an excellent reputation for building cars, but never before has one been designed here and engineered for series production. For the small team that existed at the start of the Joule project, the task was massive Gerhard Swart, chief technical officer describes those early days South Africans have always been good at understanding...