Natasha Chamba, Business Reporter
ECONET founder and Zimbabwean billionaire Mr Strive Masiyiwa says plans are under way for their Vaya logistics division to introduce electric vehicles so as to help ease the fuel problems facing the country.
Vaya is a new innovative product under Econet subsidiary, Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe, which links customers in need of logistics services such as rides, package deliveries and delivery trucks.
Posting on his Facebook page, Mr Masiyiwa said the Vaya unit was waiting for delivery of the first 100 electric vehicles, which will be recharged at solar powered charging stations.
“Zimbabwe has an acute problem of fuel. Our team has created a Vaya transport service, which uses a three wheeler electric vehicle,” he said.
“We are currently waiting for the delivery of the first 100 electric vehicles. They will be recharged at solar powered charging stations.”
The investment value into the new project was not revealed. An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy stored in rechargeable batteries.
The model has been embraced in developing countries, mainly in Europe, and is being seen as environmentally friendly.
Although Government has said it was doing its best to ensure adequate supplies at service stations, the country has been battling persistent fuel challenges linked to foreign currency shortages in the economy.
Mr Masiyiwa said Vaya has partnered with Distributed Power Africa (DPA) to ensure the smooth recharging of the electric cars, once they are introduced into the market.
DPA is a market leader in innovative solar energy solutions with operations in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean billionaire also urged entrepreneurs to identify human needs in order to create solutions that are sustainable.
“If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, identify a human need, and reach out to solve it in a sustainable way…What is the problem you are seeing? Use it to make money for yourself. We call that entrepreneurship,” he said.
Mr Masiyiwa further said that the Vaya division will extend into carpooling.
“There are some amazing new services that are being pioneered on the Vaya platform. The launch of Vaya Carpool, which is scheduled for the next two weeks, is going to be a real game changer. The cost will be much lower than the current service [Vaya premium],” he said.
“Vaya Hopper (the electric vehicles) will also help ease pressure over fuel.”