The first step was adding an electric motor that lets a rider get two passengers up the hill from the city to North Adelaide without collapsing, or to hit 25kp/h on the flat (the maximum allowed by law).
Clients can book a ride direct from their smart phones using a locally developed app, and once on board they can legally travel in underutilised cycle lanes.
Two of the customised vehicles are currently picking up passengers on the streets of the CBD and five more are in the workshop being fitted out ready for a marketing blitz and the trial of EcoCart, an expanded service moving parcels as well as people.
EcoCaddy is the idea of local urban planner Daniels Langeberg, who has been awarded $10,000 to further develop the concept as one of 11 finalists in the State Government’s inaugural Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize.
Made from pressed bamboo and aluminium, the cabs are imported from Shanghai, where Langeberg worked on their development after meeting the inventors. He then retrofits them in Adelaide, adding some of his own technology.
“They are either electric-assisted pedicabs or pedal assisted electric trikes; either way you must be pedalling to get the electric assistance from the bike,” he said.
Ironically they are not widely used in China and actually banned in Shanghai, where infatuation with the motor vehicle continues. However, Langeberg believes they are ideal for cities looking to reduce their carbon emissions and where many journeys are a little too long to walk but too short to justify catching a taxi.
“Once we get ourselves established in the CBD and North Adelaide we aim to expand to other urban and regional areas,” he said. “The long-term opportunity will be to deliver the platform to other parts of Australia and overseas.”
Langeberg has trialled his EcoCart scheme over the last three months, making about 80 deliveries for city-based businesses, many of which wanted a delivery service that shared their environmental convictions.
The aim is to bring 40 businesses and 20 vendors on board for a longer trial that will demonstrate the efficiency of the service and – thanks to an inbuilt carbon calculator – how many carbon emissions they have saved by not using traditional transport.
EcoCaddy will join other finalists in South Australia’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize in Adelaide this week for Design Week, as part of Open State. Tomorrow afternoon, the 11 finalists will pitch their ideas in front of a live audience to the judging panel, who will decide and announce the winner/s of the $150,000 prize. Registrations for this event are still open.
Solstice Media has partnered with the South Australian Government to provide information about the transition to a low-carbon economy. Read more stories like this here.
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