Originally published on Gas2.
DirijaJa!, based in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, is reportedly one of Brazil’s leading electric mobility companies. Westfield Sportscars in the UK will now bring its electric cars to the European market under a new partnership that will also see DirijaJa! introducing electric cars from Westfield Sportscars into the South American market. Catch all that?
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) was reportedly the initiator of this partnership.
“Westfield has partnered with UKTI and adopted a strategic approach to identifying opportunities in new markets. The company has benefited from intensive assistance from many of UKTI’s services, including the Passport to Export scheme and introductions from UKTI Brazil. This exciting new venture between DirijaJa! and Westfield is another fantastic opportunity that further enhances the international profiles of both companies,” UKTI International Trade Adviser Paul Keeling stated.
Yep, that was Paul tooting his and UKTI’s own horn, but anyhow, it helps to show how this partnership came about and how others could sprout.
All of that said, I’m not actually finding any DirijaJa! electric cars on the web… but it has apparently invested in a company working to develop Brazil’s first electric car, Obvio! (don’t ask me what’s up with all of the exclamation marks — I guess it’s a Brazilian thing… that Germany’s Volkswagen also dabbles in).
The Brazilian company is also working to develop and produce the FNM, an electric cargo van, with a haulage capacity of up to 1,500 kilograms, and the ACESSO, a street-legal special electric vehicle for handicapped drivers. Those are a lot of ambitions for a young startup. We’ll see how they turn out.
DirijaJa! has invested in and technologically supports carsharing company Fleety. “The services began this year and, in less than six months, 5,505 users and 472 vehicles have already been registered.” Clearly, DirijaJa! is looking to transform transportation in Brazil.
Going the other way, the specifics of the UK-to-Brazil cars have a deeper history. DirijaJa! CTO Fabiano Isoppo says, “Under this common development, we are also supply [sic] the Westfield Race Series vehicles – AeroRace, XTR and iRacer – to start electric racing cars in the South American market, using the concepts of ‘car sharing’ for local teams, in a high tech competition. This offer starts a variety of opportunities to both novice and expert drivers alike. It is very good value for money for such an exciting and ambitious project.”
Westfield Sportscars is “one of the UK’s leading hand-built sports car manufacturers that is British owned and family run.” Based in Kingswinford in the West Midlands, it designs, manufactures, and certifies handmade and factory-built sports cars for distribution all over the globe. The company has a pretty distinguished history since its birth in 1983, and in 2011 it launched the world’s first pure-electric race series, using the Westfield iRacer. It also developed a number of other pure-electric cars for the road. Gas2 has actually had its eye on Westfield and the iRacer since 2010.
It’s an interesting partnership — a Brazilian company developing a tiny little electric car and pioneering electric carsharing, and a UK company that has led the way in electric racing and kit cars. We’ll see where it goes.
Images via Obvio! & Westfield Sportscars