If necessity is the mother of all invention, cyclist-dad Neil du Preez may quite have spun this expression on its head with his electric mini-cab.
A Dad with a Dream
You see, Neil was a new dad. And Neil was a cyclist. So naturally, as any good parent, he wanted to seamlessly merge the two, toting his tiny tot with him up and down Cape Town’s steep hills. Little did he know that this “necessity” would give rise to a super-bike – one on which a trailer could be securely affixed.
With resulting sales in the US and Europe, it would seem Neil found a new calling…
From Cyclist to Electric Taxi Inventor
The wheels of Neil’s super-bike would grow propelling power of their own, spinning into bigger, cooler designs, like an electrically assisted, human-powered vehicle. It was fuel efficient and used to ferry people to and fro, but with all that labour (assisted albeit) something had to give. A bit of cantankering here and tweaking there…and the vehicle would do away with the human-propelled element all together. Cape Town, we present to you your very first fully electric taxi. Boom.
Cape Town’s Award-Worthy Electric Cab
And it looks as though Neil’s work was, in fact, not in vain! It was recently announced that he’d be joining three other South Africans as finalists for the Innovation Prize for Africa. Cape Town, are you ready for another design coup? We’re taking the WDC-title back…
Good Things Come in Small Packages…
- Like storing kinetic energy that is typically lost in the braking process. In true waste-not-want-not fashion, this mini-cab converts the friction into electricity. It also uses hydrogen fuel.
- In fact, the packaging itself is a good a thing. Made from recycled plastic, it’s adaptable and renewable.
- BUT the electric cab only travels a mere 5km – which isn’t so bad for those not keen on walking any distance at all. All this eco-friendly, fuel efficiency means you can taxi short distances on a budget.
Let’s face it Cape Town, we’ve got a lot of steep hills! Who knows, maybe this will be the alternative to getting up Kloof Nek or the Bo Kaap without breaking a sweat.
With all that said, we wish Neil the best of luck…bring that prize home, boet!
*Innovation Prize for Africa winner will be announced on 10 May 2015.