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‘Make sacrifices, don’t blame govt’

2021-09-22  Paheja Siririka

‘Make sacrifices, don’t blame govt’
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The first e-bike rental station will open in Windhoek’s central business district (CBD) in November this year.

This should be good news for everyone looking for affordable and sustainable mobility, whilst cutting costs on taxis.

An electric bicycle or e-bike is a bicycle with a battery and motor that provide the rider with plenty of extra support to go anywhere without exhaustion. 

They are made and distributed by EBikes4Africa in Windhoek, with the main aim of empowering local communities through e-mobility and solar-powered services, a project that has been in existence since 2015.

Founder of EBikes4Africa, Bernhard Walther (35) told Youth Corner they want to provide affordable and sustainable mobility to Namibians and establish the first e-bike manufacturer and brand in the SADC regions.

“We want to help small scale entrepreneurs to use e-mobility to boost their businesses, make Windhoek an e-bike mecca, establish carbon-free last-mile deliveries in Windhoek,” he shared.

About the plan to open the first e-bike rental station at the new Nedbank head office, he said they will offer affordable rental of e-bikes to the public and start doing bike deliveries. They also have cargo bikes to offer green deliveries for bigger cargos.

Walther, who has a Master in Industrial Engineering and Renewable Energies, said e-bikes or SunCycles are very convenient, easy to use and fun. 

“In a sunny country like Namibia, e-bikes and solar charging units are perfect to help reduce mobility expenses and get independent from importing fossil fuels.” 

Their team is made up of 20 members, of which 10 are freelance delivery riders, two are frame builders and welders, two are in charge of the workshop and to keep the fleet running, one electric student in charge of the batteries and the solar systems, three students work on bicycle promotion activities and marketing, one international student to help organise operational structures.

He said the response from the public has been great; many companies and private people are interested in helping propel the vision of implementing this eco-friendly technology.

“Since my delivery vehicle was upgraded to SunCycle, it takes me half the time to get products to our clients. I can now easily reach parts of the city that previously took a lot of effort and energy,” shared Denzel Maende, who is a bike rider doing deliveries.

Another satisfied customer of the service is Anja Krenier, a commuter at the coastal town of Swakopmund, who was overjoyed with the locally designed electric two-wheelers from SunCycle.

“I use the SunCycle to commute to work almost every day. It is the perfect means of transport in Swakopmund, cycling safely along the beachfront on a cycling path – and it takes less time than driving the car.”

 Walther said their plans involve cooperation with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Innovation Design Lab (IDL).

“We will start the E-Mobility competence centre at IDL and get on board even more students to help us develop and build E-Bikes made in Namibia.”

The IDL at NUST is a centre of multi-disciplinary research applied to Namibian and African wicked problems.

 “We also trained many mechanics in electric two-wheelers from other companies/tourist operators,” said Walther.

- psiririka@nepc.com.na


2021-09-22  Paheja Siririka

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