SunCycles Namibia

SunCycles Namibia: Access to affordable mobility and electricity via solar powered electric bicycle

Windhoek, NamibiaWindhoek, Namibia
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

E-Mobility is the future. Solar powered electric bicycles as the most affordable and efficient way of moving mark the start. SunCycles Namibia invented the first low cost solar powered electric bicycle, environmental friendly, independent from fossil fuel and accessible for everyone.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if access to labour and goods markets and education and health faciliites is not depending on income?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

90% of the population in Namibia doesn’t own a car; 50% of income is spent on transport; 30% of income is spent on electricity substitutes. People cant reach their work or hospitals and schools. The use of normal bikes is not appropriate because of the hills and the heat. Because there is limited public transport, taxis are the main mode of transport and a sustainable and affordable transport system is missing.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Solar powered electric bicycles can give access to labour and good markets as well as access to health and education facilities. The costs of a solar electric bicycle is around 1/10 the price of a taxis per km. Besides the battery can be used to power basic electric items in off-grid areas like light and communication. Through photovoltaic recharge units, electric bicycle empower people and mark the start of a sustainable, environmental friendly and affordable transport system, locally produced and upscale-able to become independent for fossil fuels.

Awards

Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) Business Plan Competition 2015 2nd Winne
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Namibia is in need of a sustainable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective transport solution that will make it easier for its inhabitants to reach labour and goods markets and health and educational facilities. It furthermore offers a fantastic bicycles friendly climate, with ample sunshine for photovoltaic systems. Namibia is facing significant transport challenges: 90% of the population doesn’t own a car; 50% of income is spent on transport; 20% of income is spent on electricity substitutes. Because there is limited public transport, taxis are the main mode of transport at a cost of about U$ 2-4/day in urban areas, in rural areas there is no mobility solution at all.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We designed and built 25 prototypes in Namibia. These are used by individuals and organizations to lower their mobility expenses.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

SunCycles Namibia is a social business and follows a open source strategy. This means we share knowledge with everyone interested. Since electric bicycles are significantly cheaper than any other form of transport, it is just a matter of time till other people and businesses are going to adapt. Electric mobility can also be up scaled to other applications like rickshaws, e-scooters and e-taxis, all cheaper than fossil fuel based systems.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We sell and rent e-bikes and solar recharge units to individuals and companies. They can save 1/10 of their mobility expanses by using e-bikes. This amount pays off the initial costs for the e-bike within a short period. Additional cash flow is created by the tourism industry, where we offer specialized solutions for lodges, farmer and hotels.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We brought the first e-bike to Namibia. There is no other competitor. Other transport solutions are much more expansive.
Team

Founding Story

Worrying about the future of this planet, we see fossil fuels as a major reason to cause environmental and social problems. Being bicycle enthusiast, we decided to bring the relatively new technology to Namibia and make it accessible to everybody. In combination with photovoltaic systems, e-bikes offer a suitable solution for a lot of problems the Namibian population is facing.

Team

Marita van Rooyen, Founder, Full-Time Bernhard Walther, founder, Full-Time
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) Business Plan Competition

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co Foudner, technical expert

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Both were working as freelancer before. Bernhard Walther was working as a consultant in the field of business development and renewable energies.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

- PAY (Physically Active Youth)
- Bicycle Empowerment Network of Namibia
- Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust
- Polytechnic of Namibia, University of Namibia
- Ministry of Works, Roads and Transport
- The City of Windhoek
- NYIME Anti-Poaching Unit
- Gobabeb Desert Research Centre
- Namibia Scientific Society

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