Optimal Energy's handsomely-named Joule electric vehicle hasn't grabbed all that many headlines since it's debut at the Paris Motor Show last year, but it looks like the company now has a bit more to brag about, with it announcing an influx of funding and an actual launch date (or launch year, at least). Apparently, the first few Joules will roll out in South Africa sometime next year, after which they will head into mass production (or about 50,000 units a year) in 2012, with the majority of those vehicles intended for export outside of South Africa. The car itself will apparently be available in both front-wheel and four-wheel drive models, with each able to sit six with some degree of comfort, and provide a range of somewhere around 250 miles on a single charge. No official word on a price just yet, but the company has previously tossed around €25,000 (or roughly $33,500) as a target.

[Via AutoblogGreen]

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Optimal's Joule electric vehicle seats six, on track for launch next year