FOR WRITTEN REPLY
QUESTION NO 2115
Mrs H N Ndude (Cope) to ask the Minister of Trade and Industry:
Whether his department will lead the role in government to ensure that
South African Battery manufacturers or importers who are seeking to meet
the anticipated demand for battery packs with the advent of electrical cars
like the Joule will adopt a common standard to boost the production volumes
and help to bring down prices; if not, why not; if so, what steps will he
take to compel compliance in this matter before it becomes too chaotic to
A private company: Optimal Energy is the manufacturer of the Joule. The
battery pack, currently used in proto-types of the Joule, was configured
and built by Joule themselves. They imported the individual cellsÂ (lithium-
ion) fromÂ Korea. The configuration depends on the type of vehicle - and in
this case it is custom made. These types of batteries are not currently
available commercially for sale in South Africa, given the prototype stage
of the Joule.
The dti together with other entities such as Department of Science and
Technology (DST) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) are
working actively to try and attract investment in battery production for
the Joule to South Africa. As part of supporting and ensuring successful
commercialisation of the Joule and promoting local manufacturing, the dti
together with DST, IDC and Optimal Energy is exploring ways and means of
localising the production of the electric vehicle battery in South Africa.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has this far adopted two
standards for electric vehicles and there are a few more that the
International Standards Organisation (ISO) has published recently that the
SABS is looking at adopting as South African National Standards.
The dti and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) currently
investigating the expansion of the SABS battery testing facility in order
for it to meet the increase in testing demand for different types of
batteries including batteries for electric motor vehicles. The SABS will
also re-establish the technical committee responsible for the development
of South African National Standards for batteries.
The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) is aware of the
focus on electric cars and the standards that is currently under
development by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the SABS.
The NRCS will regulate these vehicles. The process would be to amend one
or more of the current Compulsory Specifications to accommodate these
standards. This compulsory specifications addresses all aspects relating
to safety in passenger vehicles by referencing relevant standards. This
will also be the case for batteries.
The dti will work actively with SABS and NRCS to develop appropriate
standards for the Joule battery.