Mellowcabs manufactures and operates three-wheeled, electric mini-cabs to provide low cost, eco-friendly and convenient taxi and transport services in built-up cities. A mobile app connects the commuters and cabs and payment can be made by cash or card via the app. The passenger section of the cab can be replaced with a cargo section.
Unlike meter cabs and large, privately owned cars, the solution is less expensive, aims to be more convenient and avoids mass pollution. Using shells made from recycled PET, the cars use regenerative braking which recovers and converts kinetic energy into electricity. An additional facet includes a flexible solar panel in the roof which can generate up to 35% of the cab’s power.
Mellowcabs has also developed an on-demand App which includes features such as allowing gender-specific requests for women to request female drivers.
As cities become the engines of economic growth, city officials and decision-makers face a challenging task of developing and maintaining efficient urban transport systems. Africa's transport market is characterized by large fossil-fuelled vehicles and limited public transport infrastructure. Despite the growth in car use, minibus public transport and walking are still the predominant forms of mobility for the majority of Africans.
Increases in the urban transport systems in large developing cities are a must due to rising urban populations. This is coupled with problems in mobility: congestion with private cars and the fragility of public transport. In addition, transportation produces approximately 23% of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, although 80% of all urban vehicle trips are shorter than 4 km. This is inefficient fuel-burning and the reason why the company has developed an electric micro vehicle. The mellowcab is designed to bridge the gap between public transport and private car use by providing efficient urban transport.
A single Mellowcab could save 12 kg of CO2 emissions per day, or 4. 3 tonnes per year.
All the Mellowcabs are locally produced and the company aims to create sustainable job opportunities in manufacturing as well as drivers and technicians. 500 vehicles operating in South Africa will generate a minimum of 1100 jobs.
The company aims to provide low cost transport in the region of a dollar per ride. The business plan involves deploying 500 vehicles in South Africa over the next 5 years. If these vehicles transport 40 people per day, Mellowcabs will reach 7300000 people annually providing good, efficient and clean transport to these people.
Mellowcabs has two distinctive income streams, with advertising on the cabs being the main revenue source and passenger fares being the secondary source. Although Mellowcabs are primarily transport devices, the company’s source of income is not only from carrying passengers, but selling branded advertising space on the vehicles, on-board tablet advertising, and events-based income. The various revenue streams will offer diversity of income.
The company has secured an advertising contract to the value of R2.5 million (250 000 USD) for three months of advertising for a multi-national fashion label on forty Mellowcabs. This advertising client owns over 5000 sunglass stores internationally.
Mellowcabs technical specifications:
Model version Mellowcabs L1
Battery Lithium Ion 200Ah
Motor 48 V / 5kw
Vehicle dimensions 3100 mm x 1200 mm x 1800 mm
Frame chassis Aluminium
Transmission mode 16:1 reduction gear
Shell material Fibreglass composite
Wheelbase 2800 mm
Rear axle span 990 mm
Maximum load capacity 415 kg
Maximum forward speed 65 km/h
Maximum backward speed with reverse gear, max backward speed 15 km/h
Contact: Neil du Preez
Used in: South Africa