Solutions

Our company

Resources

First Electric Minibus Taxi Coming to South Africa Aims to Accelerate Green Mobility Adoption

In a landscape where sustainability has evolved from a buzzword to a business necessity, the shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) emerges as a pivotal consideration for UK commercial fleets. Navigating the intricacies of electrification, however, can be a formidable challenge.

As the fuel price hits historic highs, commuters are starting to feel the pinch in increasing transport fares. The typical South African commuter already spends up to 40% of their income on transport and the minibus taxi sector is still struggling from the impact of the last two years on their operations.  However, relief could be possible from an unlikely source – electric minibus taxis.  Privately-owned minibus taxis are ubiquitous in sub-Saharan Africa and carry more than 70% of daily commuters. 

A project team of companies and research institutions today announced a research partnership to investigate and advance the feasibility of an electric minibus taxi in South African conditions by testing production vehicles in South Africa in 2023. 

For the last five years GoMetro, a global mobility management technology company with its head office in Cape Town, has collected data on taxi operations across South Africa.  In order to advance e-mobility development locally, GoMetro has convened a project team of innovative companies and researchers to launch a demonstrator project to test the first minibus in South African conditions by January 2023. 

The project team, consisting of GoMetro, MiX Telematics, HSW, ACDC Dynamics, and various entities within Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Engineering, will conduct rigorous and extensive testing in and around the town of Stellenbosch, as well as putting the electrification of the minibus taxi sector firmly on the national agenda by means of an educational roadshow in all nine provinces in the course of 2023. 

A number of viable electric minibus taxi models from various markets have been identified, the first of which will be on South African shores by the end of the year. The acceptance and practicality of the model will be extensively tested with taxi owners and drivers, in order to identify the use-cases and conditions where an electric taxi would make the most sense. 

“Taxi drivers and owners are very interested and intrigued by the idea of an electric minibus taxi, and are constantly asking us when the first electric minibus taxi will arrive on our shores”, says Justin Coetzee, GoMetro CEO. “We have built valuable relationships with a large number of taxi associations, and the ever-increasing fuel price is a massive concern among owners, drivers and riders alike, as there does not seem to be any relief in sight. The industry has long acknowledged that business as usual will not suffice – and that change is required, especially after the effects of COVID-19”. 

The aim of testing different models over the coming months, is to establish which vehicle will be best suited to the South African public transport industry, and what spectrum of operations are conducive to the range capabilities of the vehicles. In addition to testing the vehicle itself, the project team wants to engage with the automotive sector and policy makers to encourage proactive discussions with the government around the reduction of duties and the promotion of the adoption of electric vehicles in the transport sector.

“Since MiX Telematics is at the forefront of innovation and leveraging new technologies to improve fleet operations and efficiency,  we are very excited to be part of this pioneering initiative. We have seen the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles increasing exponentially in Europe, and so look forward to learning how we can support these solutions in the South African context,” says Catherine Lewis, Executive VP of Technology at MiX Telematics.

Professor Thinus Booysen, Research Chair in the Internet of Things at Stellenbosch University, will lead the team of testing experts. “The informal taxi sector must transform to EVs, but little is known about their energy requirements. This unknown is overshadowed by our energy scarcity and coal dependence on the electricity supply side. This collaborative project will ensure we are prepared for and carefully manage this exciting transition,” says Booysen. The electric minibus taxi will be showcased at the Stellenbosch University campus. 

According to Dr Bernard Bekker, Associate Director of Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), the future electrification of the transport section in South Africa raises significant technical and regulatory challenges related to integrating electric transport into our existing grid infrastructure. These challenges are in many ways unique to South Africa, where minibus taxis will potentially represent a much larger proportion of the future electrical fleet than for example Europe or the USA. “The availability of a real-life electric minibus taxi to inform our research activities will provide very valuable inputs into addressing these challenges.”

“The minibus taxi is ubiquitous in the South African landscape moving millions of people over the years, contributing to getting South Africa to work – unfortunately in an environmentally unsustainable manner. ACDC Dynamics is proud to be part of the change that will be brought to this industry as it adopts electric/ battery powered taxi’s through our capabilities to supply battery charging networks across the country,” says Mario Maio, Founder and Managing Director of ACDC Dynamics. 

“HSW is passionate about bringing manufacturing local. The Western Cape has all the technical skills and resources to set up manufacturing facilities in support of such an initiative. There are already existing Electronic Manufacturers who have world class capabilities in the Manufacturing of electronic products such as Barracuda Holdings who is one of HSW’s key customers as evidence that this type of hi-tech manufacturing technology is already available locally,” says Ryan Webb, Managing Member HSW.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are heralded as a silver bullet to globally decarbonise the transport sector. The development of low-carbon transport in cities is part of the global agenda to delay climate change and relates to many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. While EV sales have increased substantially in the Global North and many global vehicle manufacturers plan to stop production of combustion engines as early as 2030, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the transition to EVs continues to be painstakingly slow. This research project aims to accelerate this transition to cleaner and greener mobility.

Author

The GoMetro Team

GoMetro is leading the charge in heavy-duty vehicle electrification, dedicated to reshaping public transport and fleet management for a safer, sustainable, and smarter future. Harnessing a cutting-edge Integration-Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS), GoMetro’s comprehensive solutions utilise data analytics for good, providing actionable insights for informed decision-making by fleet managers. Committed to green and profitable mobility, GoMetro actively contributes to a more efficient and eco-friendly transportation landscape, ensuring millions worldwide experience a future of efficient, eco-friendly travel.

Read more

The Freight and Logistics industry is poised for a radical shake-up as emerging technologies and new business models are harnessed

The GoMetro Team

Enter GoMetro’s EV-FIT – an encompassing toolkit crafted to assist fleet owners and operators on their electrification journey. EV-FIT, or

The GoMetro Team

The Green Fleet 100 (GF100) stands as a beacon of progress and innovation, showcasing the leading fleets making significant strides

The GoMetro Team

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to collect information about how you interact with our website and allow us to remember you. We use this information in order to improve and customize your browsing experience and for analytics and metrics about our visitors both on this website and other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy. If you decline, your information won’t be tracked when you visit this website. A single cookie will be used in your browser to remember your preference not to be tracked. View more
Cookies settings
Accept
Decline
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Who we are

We are catalysts for environmental change, passionate solutionists, and caring colleagues

We believe in Ownership, Responsibility and Accountability. If you’d like to work with a bunch of FREAKS (Focused, Relentless, Enthusiastic, Ambitious, Kind, Solutionist humans) and help change the mobility landscape, we’d love to hear from you.
Our website address is: https://www.gometroapp.com

Comments

When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection. An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Media

If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.

Cookies

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to collect information about how you interact with our website and allow us to remember you. We use this information in order to improve and customize your browsing experience and for analytics and metrics about our visitors both on this website and other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy. If you decline, your information won’t be tracked when you visit this website. A single cookie will be used in your browser to remember your preference not to be tracked. If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year. If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser. When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me", your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed. If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website. These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Who we share your data with

If you request a password reset, your IP address will be included in the reset email.

How long we retain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue. For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where your data is sent

Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.
Save settings
Cookies settings