Cargo e-bike takes to the streets
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport introduced its cargo electronic bike pilot project at the weekend, in an initiative that was 12 months in the making.
Launched in partnership with the German federal government, Innovation Hub, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Anywhere.berlin team, the electric-powered bike moves goods and is envisioned to provide a cost-effective, safer and greener solution in the freight distribution system.
Ismail Vadi, MEC for Gauteng roads and transport, says the department has identified challenges relating to the last-mile freight distribution system, manifested through inner-city congestion caused by large delivery vehicles.
According to Vadi, the cargo e-bike represents technological innovation that can help take the province forward.
"The cargo e-bike is a game-changer for several reasons. It provides us with another mode of transport; a low-cost entry into the transport sector that can support micro-enterprises. It empowers us to manufacture locally and by doing so to further our national interests through import replacement. The cargo e-bike is a small step forward towards reindustrialisation."
As part of the pilot, Vadi's department introduced the e-bike at Sharpeville Township in partnership with non-profit organisation, Sharpeville Kasi Development Project, based in that area, and the CSIR.
"The pilot, which we will be conducting in the community, will give us information on the feasibility of using the bike in a township setting. The bike will be fitted with a GPS that will give us data showing its ruggedness, safety and mileage covered in terms of its business model.
"At the moment, the waste harvester pulls a trolley; it is a very hard way to make a living, but it is an honest way to do so. We believe the cargo e-bike would enable them to move much more product from the collection point to the selling point and by doing so will increase their income to earn a decent living," the MEC stated.