A Small Beach Town on the Ivory Coast Welcomes First Solar-Powered Taxis

Taxis are an important means of transportation on the Ivory Coast - and solar could make them a whole lot more sustainable.

On the African continent, the lack of eco-friendly transportation is being tackled by innovators who are tapping into the region's abundance of solar power. In Jacqueville, a small beach town on the Ivory Coast, the latest arrival is taxis fuelled by the power of the sun.

Author Jasmina Schmidt:

Translation Jasmina Schmidt, 06.03.19

Jacqueville is a city on the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by so much water – lagoons and ocean – that it almost feels like an island and was fairly cut off from the mainland until fairly recently. Ever since 2015, however, when a bridge to the mainland went into operation, the city has grown in popularity and is attracting more and more tourism. In less than an hour you can reach the economic centre of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan. Previously, the city could only be reached by ferry. A large part of the Ivory Coast’s oil reserves are also located in the area. Oil and gas are the main sources of energy production in the country, followed by hydropower. Other renewable energies such as solar or wind power are virtually non-existent. However, this is set to change. By 2020, the West African country wants to generate 150 megawatts from solar energy – equivalent to about seven percent of its current national energy production.

And local businessman Balla Konaté is taking the initiative and doing his own bit to help. Inspired by taxis he saw during a visit to China, Konaté and a team of employees are giving the transport sector in the small town a boost in the right direction by fitting out small cars and three-wheeled cars with solar panels – and putting them to use as taxis. Powered by the solar panel alone, the solar taxis are only able to travel around 30 kilometers – not enough for a form of public transportation. That’s why several batteries have been built into the vehicles too, which are regularly recharged – also using solar energy. A set of six batteries is enough to ensure the solar taxis a range of about 140 kilometers.

This new sustainable means of transport is already hugely popular in Jacqueville, not least because the price of a trip in a solar taxi is cheaper than that of a conventional one because of the savings made on fuel. Sounds like a win-win for the people of Jacqueville and the climate.

In Uganda, Kampala’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxi, the boda-boda, is also going green. Click here to find out more.

This is a translation of an original article which first appeared on RESET’s German-language site.

Boogaali: Bamboo Bikes Made in Uganda

Bicycles are one of the most sustainable means of transport around. One ambitious cyclist in Uganda is producing bicycles with an even lower CO2 footprint than the average. We visited him in his workshop in Kampala.

E-Mobility in Uganda: How Electric Motorbikes Are Cleaning Up Kampala’s Air

Air pollution is a serious issue in Uganda's capital. The startup Zembo wants to turn one of the city's most popular means of transport - the boda boda - green. Our writer in Kampala spoke to one of Zembo's founders.

EcoBox: A Solar-Powered Food-Saving Solution Made in Nigeria

In African countries, huge amounts of food are lost post-harvest due to poor storage. The Nigerian start-up RenewDrive has developed a solution that could help keep fruits and vegetables fresher for longer.

SunCycles: Solar-Powered E-Bikes for Namibia

SunCycles is supplying Namibia with the latest in sustainable transportation - the country's first ever fleet of solar-powered e-bikes.

Meet Noah, the World’s First Recyclable Car

Powered by electricity, completely recyclable and made from renewable materials - does this sound like a car to you? Absolutely. Say hello to "Noah".

WeCycle: Bicycle-Powered Recycling in Africa’s Second Biggest City

In Nigeria, social enterprise WeCycle is taking recycling into their own hands - heading out on bicycles to pick up waste from those people who have been forgotten by the city's collection services.