This year (2020) Dutch company Emergi is planning to pilot the first generation of completely electric Kekehs (three-wheeler vehicles) in the West African country of Liberia. To kickstart the project, Emergi has launched a crowdfunding campaign, to garner public support to bring innovative renewable energy solutions to Liberia’s transportation sector.
With this crowdfunding, Emergi aims to raise €10,000. With every €3,500 collected, Emergi can put an extra electric kekeh, with solar charging, on the road.
“The true testimony of renewable energy will be its ability to produce and provide energy there where it is needed most, in the hands of people who have lacked access to energy for generations. This is why I founded Emergi, so we can play a key role to address these challenges,” said Richard van Hoolwerff, Founder and CEO of Emergi.
“Being a father of two adorable children has made me acutely aware of the world future generations will inherit from us and our shared responsibility to leave behind a planet that is sustainable,” van Hoolwerff added. “But for me, accelerating the renewable energy revolution is about more than just taking care of our environment.
Emergi is a Dutch renewable energy company that develops renewable energy products that generate economic and social value in developing markets. The company offers innovative products to contribute to the energy revolution and a renewable future through the core values of impact, sustainability, and innovation.
The company kicks off the campaign as rampant fuel shortages challenge drivers throughout the capital Monrovia, and beyond.
Having done thorough market research amongst kekeh drivers and other actors in the renewable energy and transport sector in Liberia, Emergi is confident that the electric kehkeh’s will improve both the cost of ownership and driver experience while reducing noise and air pollution in the city.
Emergi’s ambition is to introduce a more sustainable and inclusive means of transport. This means: to decrease renewable energy poverty, the inclusion of female drivers, less pollution in the city, less noise for the driver, more income for the driver, and better service for customers.
Other reasons are reduced cost of ownership (from US$4,000 to US$2,500 per year), reduced CO2 emissions, and Liberia’s resilience is improved as locally produced renewable energy reduces dependency on unreliable gasoline import.
The electric kekehs will include innovations to increase the income and safety for the driver such as mobile payment, on-board driver safety cameras, specifically to improve safety for female drivers, GPS support, and solar charging stations.
“Renewable energy is a giant step towards a better Liberia… it’s a giant step towards a better Africa. With solar energy, Liberia would be more sustainable than ever. Our transportation and electrical sectors would have the upgrade they have been needing for ages. I think it’s a wonderful thing that we have an abundance of sunlight here. The sun is way too generous to us; she gives us too much of her energy to be used in one day. It is time we use some for our vehicles and save some for the night,” said Elvis T. Thomas, a trainee Engineer at Emergi.
With this project, Liberia will become one of the first countries with electric vehicles in West Africa. The tested innovations will be included in our business operations, scaled up, and introduced in other African countries.
This will lead to future quality jobs for (female) drivers, mechanics, EV and renewable energy experts, and IT specialists. The crowdfunding campaign is open for contributions until 4 December 2020, giving supporters an opportunity to aid the green energy transition in Liberia, or buy their very own kekeh. Visit https://www.emergi.nl/ for more details.