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The dream of having a practical electric vehicle from South Africa has ended. At least, for now. Optimal Energy, which first trotted out its Keith Helfet-designed Joule at the 2008 Paris Motor Show has announced that it is shutting down.

The launch of BYD's plug-in vehicles has not gone as planned. The Chinese company's all-electric e6 has been delayed in the U.S. (in part because of a lack of infrastructure, the company says) and the plug-in hybrid F3DM did not sell well at all. In the recent past, profits tumbled and EV production plans were scaled back.

Taiwan-based automaker Luxgen has been quite busy as of late. Earlier this year, the company introduced its Luxgen7 MPV, followed by the Luxgen7 SUV just days ago and now the most highly-anticipated model of all, the Luxgen7 MPV EV+, is getting ready to roll into action.

BYD e6 electric MPV - Click above for high-res image gallery

Even though word slipped out early about their upcoming all-electric car appearing at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Optimal Energy played its cards pretty close to its chest and kept their web presence on the down low. Now that the world has been officially introduced to the MPV-sized Joule, the South African company has completely redone its website so we can now better examine their creation and learn more of its features. They have also released video of the car's presentation to a select audien

Click image for a gallery of the BYD e6

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