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Mellowcabs and MellowVans

Mellowcabs manufactures light electric vehicles that provide low cost, efficient and emission-free transport services in cities.

Photo of Neil du Preez
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Mellowcabs manufactures light electric vehicles that provide low cost, efficient and emission-free transport services in cities.

These services can be provided through various mobile applications, seamlessly connecting commuters, goods and Mellowcab vehicles.

Capable in terms of acceleration, range, and speed, with leading safety features. There are two versions of the vehicle:

One is the passenger version, providing safe and comfortable mobility for two passengers, and the other is the cargo version, making the Mellowcabs a versatile delivery vehicle.

Mellowcabs can provide the advantages of E-mobility, at very low rates enabling both commuter and goods mobility, customized to a city's needs.

Each vehicle runs at less than a dollar per day in operational cost and provides over 100 km of transport per day.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Positive Congestion Impact Successful cities depend on efficient public transport working in conjunction with other sustainable travel options. Environmental impact A single Mellowcab could save 28 kg of carbon emissions per day, or 10.2 tonnes per year. Access to goods Delivery companies can use our vehicle to drive down operational and and maintenance costs of fleets. Passengers transport The main benefit would be to the everyday user of such a service. Cost effective, reliable, environmentally friendly and sustainable transport is the way to go; it is just a matter of making it functional for the end users and fitting it to their specific needs

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We ran two very successful pilot projects DHL and with Takealot/Mr. Delivery. Both pilot projects showed significant reductions in operational costs, vehicle emissions and noise pollution, with no associated maintenance costs. We have also been operating our passenger vehicles in Cape Town for almost a year, averaging approximately 60 passenger trips per vehicle, per day. We were able to achieve fare reductions of about 30% compared to normal taxis, with added revenue in advertising.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

There are currently 17 permanent employees which include the engineering, manufacturing and management personnel The development and manufacturing journey started at the end of 2016, where the first prototypes were manufactured. With these prototype the main manufacturing obstacles could be altered and the second version’s manufacturing started in 2017.During 2018 we tested the vehicle in small scale pilot programs throughout South Africa.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • Yes

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

65% Of the allocated project will go into capex requirements, specifically in the manufacturing of a test fleet of Mellowcab vehicles. 5% Will be allocated to appointing the research teams, and interfacing with local transport operators, including obtaining the necessary licensing. 20% of the budget will be allocated to operational expenses for test period. The remaining 5% will be allocated to post project data collection, and reporting

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

This aim of the project of having a safe, affordable and environmentally friendly on-demand transit and cargo delivery service available for immediate transit needs. Microtransit is the facet of public transport and deliveries directed at short range, last-mile portions of trips, thus creating a more inclusive and comprehensive public transport and delivery network. Mellowcab light EV’s are ideal for such applications due to the short distance and compact nature of these trips. Mellowcabs are small, which makes navigation and parking easier, they’re efficient in constant stop/start environments, and are exempted from congestion taxes because they emit no pollution. Their relative low speed and limited payloads don’t detract from the value because these vehicles weren’t hauling much to begin with.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Reduction of GHG emissions compared to benchmark vehicles used in industry. Tons of CO2e* (per year). Reduction in vehicle operational costs Compared to benchmark internal combustion-driven vehicles Reduction in operational cost per kilometre. Reduction in maintenance cost over 6 and 12 month period. Reduction in delivery cost per package Operator(driver) income comparison Compared to expenses and downtime with internal combustion vehicle Increase in driver revenue due to lower operational cost and downtime Provide low-cost, zero-emissions passenger transport to individuals Passenger km's completed. Number of Passenger trips completed Qualitive service factors Provide a high level of quality service Passenger information systems Real-time information Printed timetable information, leaflets

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Mellowcabs' business model is two-folded: 1) The passenger model. We retain ownership of the vehicle; revenue stream through commission on fares and deliveries (direct model) or rental/leasing of the vehicles to third party (indirect model). We have additional revenue stream through advertising space 2) The cargo model. We retain ownership of the vehicle and lease it to clients.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Mackenzie Fankell

Neil du Preez  Thank you for sharing this proposal! I am a Michigan Central Station Challenge facilitator. I love that this solution is low cost and also zero emissions! I do have a few questions about implementing this solution in Detroit. Has the Mellow Cab been adapted to winter conditions such as cold temperatures, ice, and snow? I know that the weather in Detroit can be very different from Capetown.

Look forward to hearing more!

Photo of Neil du Preez

Hi Mackenzie
Thanks for your questions. And apologies for the late reply, I didn't get a notification of your comment.
Yes, Cape Town is quite different from Detroit. Our vehicles will be fitted with doors and heating systems to keep passengers and drivers warm in the winter months.

Photo of Mackenzie Fankell

Neil du Preez Thank you for the reply! Has the vehicle been tested on icy or snowy roads? Does it have enough traction?