#ReImagining cars and mobility…

#ReImagining cars and mobility…

__It’s the age of the electric car!

The entrepreneurial story behind the invention of the motor car is one of the best examples of Peter Drucker’s principle: “Innovation plus marketing make money”.

It was back in 1886 when Carl Benz registered the first “Patent Motor Car”. It actually started with only three wheels! At the same time, also in Germany, Gottlieb Daimler developed the first four-wheeled “motor coach”.

Although Benz is now recognized as the founding father of the Mercedes, for over two years after this remarkable innovation that would change the world… he was still not able to sell any of his cars!

Then one day his wife Bertha, whose family had financed his business venture, came up with an ingenious and brave marketing strategy, at a time when little was known about marketing.

As I wrote here a few years ago, at first, people were not very interested in buying “a coach without horses” and some critics told him this noisy “motor car” idea had “no future viability”!

However, Bertha’s marketing of her husband’s innovation led to the emergence of one of the most successful businesses in history: Mercedes Benz of Germany. (The company has now registered 80,000+ patents by the way… Innovation, innovation, innovation!)

While Daimler and Benz are considered amongst the founding fathers of the automobile industry, it is Benz’ wife, Bertha who is surely a founding mother!

Fast followers like Henry Ford in America added their own innovations which laid the foundation for the mass production of the internal combustion engine car, using oil products like petrol and diesel.

The motor car has been one of the greatest innovations in the history of mankind. Its benefits are too many to ever count. Today at least 1,4bn cars are on the road across the world, probably more, no one knows for sure. Last year alone, around 77m+ new cars were sold!

But fossil-fueled cars and trucks are an ever-growing threat to the environment and to our climate. These billion+ cars are choking the lungs of the planet, like a cigarette on a smoker.

A new generation of entrepreneurs led by men like Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, who was born in South Africa, have brought back an old idea, which never took off in the early years of the car…

__Engines can use electricity from batteries rather than petrol!

The number of electrical vehicles (EVs) on the roads is increasing rapidly. These are still early days in a growing industry but the size of the global market for EVs was already valued at $162bn+ last year and is projected to reach more than $800bn by 2027.

As most of you know, several countries which are worried about the climate change crisis have now passed laws that will ban the use of petrol cars by 2030.

#Innovators have responded quickly. Now almost every “fossil-fuel motor vehicle” manufacturer in the world is producing (or working to produce) electric versions of its popular brands!

What about Africa?

Do you think we will get electric cars? The simple answer is: decidedly yes!

How it happens, and when it happens, creates a lot of room for entrepreneurs like some of you.

Yesterday (Thursday 28 May) our company Vaya Africa launched Vaya Electric.

This is my own point of entry into this new game. We are all really excited to be offering great value and safety to our customers, while helping the earth, too. We have even developed solar-powered EV charging stations!

There are thousands of other entry points in the EV market, big and small.

What about you? What do YOU see?


Image credit: Vaya Electric. Here’s an article to read a bit more: https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/27/vaya-africa-launches-electric-ride-hail-taxi-network/

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

25 Replies to “#ReImagining cars and mobility…”

  1. Afterthought 1.

    “I really do encourage other manufacturers to bring electric cars to market. It’s a good thing, and they need to bring it to market and keep iterating and improving and make better and better electric cars, and that’s what going to result in humanity achieving a sustainable transport future. I wish it was growing faster than it is”. Elon Musk

  2. Afterthought 4.

    In a comment a few days ago, Chinoso Forbes Ozoaniekwe wrote: “Sir, I see a different business model against what Vaya Electric’s competitors are doing. From my own understanding, Vaya Electric will have to provide the drivers with the electric vehicles, which means Vaya gets to do the servicing, maintenance etc.. How sustainable is the model when the business reaches the point of scaling?”

    My reply,
    I like your question!

    #1. When we scale Vaya Electric, we will encourage the drivers to own electric cars. We will even provide them with loans. This is because we don’t want to own cars.

    #2. The main objective of Vaya Electric is to demonstrate to ordinary citizens the electric option: They can ride in electric cars, and see their convenience. This way when they choose to buy a new car they will consider electric. Making money is not my priority here, but #Sustainability.

    #3. Electric cars are much cheaper to maintain, and of course there is no fuel cost.

    #4. People who buy an electric car (which we don’t supply, because we are not car dealers), can also approach DPA Solar home solutions if they want continued energy.


    What do all of you see?

  3. Afterthought 5.
    Cape to Cairo: EV Charging Network.

    Over the next five years, I want to make it possible for someone to drive any electric car from Cape Town to Cairo or vice versa. And, of course, anywhere within their own country. Can you “see” a network of charging centers to replace the petrol stations you see today?

    Maybe you will run one of these or you will find a way to maintain and repair electric cars. Others will manufacture electric cars and battery factories! If you are really an entrepreneur you can “see” endless opportunities. If you are not, you can only see endless challenges.

  4. #Pause:
    Why I launched Vaya Electric:

    I want people to buy electric cars, instead of petrol. For countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda Kenya and Togo, it will help solve the perennial challenge of importing oil.
    Most importantly it will save our planet.

    But how can they buy something they have never seen or even tried before?!

    By introducing Vaya Electric, I make it possible for people to take rides in electric cars!
    Once this happens they will become interested in buying their own. Now I have no interest to supply cars. I just want people to buy such cars from whoever they want.
    I want petrol cars off the road, forever!

    I’m a philanthropist, which means I try to catalyze the change I want to see!

    Did you know you can go Online today and find second hand electric cars?!

  5. #Pause:

    How I intend to make electric cars cheaper than petrol:

    The cost of an electric car is about 25% higher than the cost of an equivalent petrol car.

    In most African countries the duty on importation of cars is between 50-100%.

    Now, if I can persuade governments to drop duty on electric cars, it means electric cars automatically become much cheaper than petrol cars.

    I have no interest whatsoever to supply cars, or become a dealer in cars. I’m expecting entrepreneurs from the car industry or new players to leap in and begin to supply and market electric cars!

    My next challenge is that of ensuring that people can travel anywhere in the country with an electric car.
    Im leading an initiative to help governments create charging infrastructure, working with entrepreneurs.
    Another huge opportunity for smart entrepreneurs!

    Don’t tell me challenges that you think I will have, just solve them.

    There is no problem here, just opportunities, opportunities, opportunities!

    Whether you believe it or not today; by 2030 you will be driving an electric car, and you will laugh at anyone who owns a petrol car!

  6. Quiz:

    One of my executives had just returned from a week in Shenzhen China, a city I really love.
    “What did you think of all those electric cars?” I asked him.

    “I never saw any sir,” he replied.

    “But there are more than 2 million electric vehicles,” I continued, smiling.

    “I only saw ordinary types of cars. I did not see any electric vehicles,” he said puzzled.

    I laughed:

    “That is because most electric cars, look like any other car you see on the road!”

    Now here is my homework for you:

    I will speak the person who finds me, on the Internet, the most electric vehicle brands available.

    Only ten slots available on #TeamTalk!

  7. Yakubu Yinusa Temitope writes,

    Innovation plus marketing makes money.
    We can easily innovate, teach us sir, the best way to study the marketing side of a business.

    My reply,
    Right now, this is a @Fast Follow opportunity!

    You start by going on the Internet and starting to google “electric cars images”.
    See all the different types of cars.
    Then start to dig deeper to understand everything you can read about electric cars.
    Keep reading, studying to understand how these cars operate and how the industry is evolving.
    The more you follow, and learn, the more you start to see doors opening for your own entry point!

  8. Bidemi Ojo writes,

    I look forward to having one later in the year or early next year. Sir, I would love that you give pricing details or price range.

    My reply,
    Bidemi, you are commenting like a consumer and not like an entrepreneur!
    I have no intention to supply you or anyone an electric car. I expect you to be the one who does it!

  9. Solomon Kwashie Abam Quaye writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa But will wait to get one from you. I want to be among the first Ghanaian to drive in your electric cars.

    My reply,
    You have answered like a consumer of a new service, rather than as an entrepreneur.
    If you don’t rush to take the Ghana market, someone else will!
    I have already shown the smart guys in Ghana what to do.

    I have no electric car for you because I don’t supply cars.

  10. Khumbulani Ndlovu writes,

    Sir -#you never cease to amaze me with preneurgold & celebration of the #superwow! – Bertha Benz – in introducing the automobile to the world in 1888, embarked on 194km round trip from their family home in Mannheim to her mother’s place in Pforzheim. At the time -roads were rugged & skeptical government officials had barred cars from the roads over safety concerns.http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190821-how-germany-became-the-country-of-cars. Then comes Bertha with that live family drive debut “..which demonstrated that the motorwagen was not safe and ready to sell”. What a mindset! #Audacious! #What you are teaching me Sir – the car had not sold for 2 years! #great innovations/products do not sell themselves! Marketing makes money! So, once l innovate, l must bring in my “Bertha” strategy. #Market big & incessantly! #unleashed for Africa! Thank you.

    My reply,
    Thank you for this great comment.
    Notice that I decided that all the initial drivers of Vaya Electric vehicles should be women!
    I did this to honor Bertha Benz who is one of my favorite entrepreneurs in history.
    The women drivers are trained to look after their cars, as well as to market the convenience of the electric cars that they drive, to their passengers.
    Each car has been fitted with a glass Perspex to separate driver from passengers, because of Covid-19!

  11. Tammy Joshua writes,

    True Boss, the opportunity abounds. we will be fast followers on these opportunities… we also will consider the Political climate and likely Policies of Govt as relates to regulations (on charging stations). A few Israeli companies are doing wonderful innovations around batteries but in all fairness, most 3rd world countries will stay with fossil fuel along time beyond the 2030 deadlines…. Its going to be a game for the Big League for awhile before the market will be democratized. #MyOpinion

    My reply,
    To start with you do not yet know enough about this industry to have reached such an #MyOpinion.

    There are young Africans, some of whom I’m supporting that are already developing Electric vehicle manufacturing projects.
    In Rwanda there are young people who have already started manufacturing Electric Motor cycles, and I’m buying from them, for Vaya Express.

    In Kenya there is a group that is manufacturing an electric car for use on Safaris.

    I know a company in South Africa that is rolling out Charging Centers throughout the country, and it is a StartUp!

    You must #KnowledgeUp, then enter the race!

    Please Tammy, don’t be so negative, it will hurt you, and discourage others. You are good enough to be in this League, as long as you set your #Mindset.

  12. #Vaya EV Charging Network:

    We are working with a South African partner on the Cape to Cairo network. It will follow the route we built with Liquid’s Cape to Cairo network.
    We are building first from Durban to the border between Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Then we will install Chargers all the way to the border with Zambia, then head east into Tanzania.
    The leg from Durban to Harare is already underway. We have secured everything including the sites where we will build Solar Powered Charging Centers.

    By the end of the year you will be able to ship a car to Durban Port, and drive it all the way to Harare or Bulawayo. A year later you will be driving to Tanzania from SA.

    No talk, talk. Just do, do, @Eaglet!

    Who will join me?

    If you are interested start by #KnowledgeUp first.
    Why not go Online and find a course on electric vehicles. Do it today!
    This is easier than Coding or AI, okay!

  13. #Tips on how to develop a business idea!

    More than five years ago I was on a trip to the USA, when a friend took me for a ride in his Tesla. I was totally smitten!

    I immediately began to #Knowledge Up on Electric cars.
    I wanted to know everything about them. I did not just read a few articles, I even read books.
    I followed every development.
    This is what I do when some of you guys are watching, game after game of soccer. I read books and saw documentaries on electric cars, and their development.
    This interest developed along my interest in solar energy.

    Finally I said to myself:
    “What is the best point of entry for me, because I’m ready to play?”
    I even drew up plans to built a battery factory for solar systems and cars.

    I have told you these principles before:
    First things first: #KnowledgeUp, and remember it does not take a day or a week.

  14. Pri Nce writes,

    copy and paste.no….invention at all.

    My reply,
    You are mean spirited. You yourself have nothing to show for your life,even though you credit yourself with a bigger brain. It is the bitterness of being a failure that propels you into a life of cynicism that hides behind racist ideology.
    Go back to your hole.

  15. Chiemela Favour Onoh Okeke II writes,

    Mr Strive, How about Africans manufacturing these cars using locally sourced materials??

    Just Like Elon Musk did in the US with tesla and SpaceX.. Now that will be truly revolutionary.

    It will be cheaper, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will be a product of an ensemble of the best African Automotive and Mechanical engineers. A true marvel.

    We can even improve on the battery technology used by tesla and commercialise it, find a way to improve the miles per range of charge.

    Any country involved in this will certainly provide a lot of kickbacks and waivers that will inadvertently reduce the costs..

    My reply,
    There is nothing stopping you at all!
    When you ask a question in the collective, you are not motivated to act yourself.

    There are many young Africans, who have already started different initiatives. I have seen some of their remarkable products, and I will be featuring them here.

    I personally am not a manufacturer. I used what was in my own hand, which is a Ride Hailing business.
    Now, if you want to get into the manufacturing end, you have my support, and I will buy your car!

  16. Paul Mac Maina writes,

    This is definitely a ripe idea with sea sand opportunities.
    Nopia here in Nairobi are leading the park with 100% electric Nissan leaf, the same car in the Vaya picture.

    The government here has already slashed the duty on electric car importation. This is the best season to become a fast follower whether in the charging system, car mantainance, dealership, marketing and partnering with new players.

    Vaya you are welcome for a partnership. Nairobi has always been hungry for new innovation.

    My reply,
    Yes, I’m aware of Nopia.
    They are one of several initiatives happening in Kenya, a hub for African Innovations.

  17. #How to be a Vaya Partner!

    Vaya today has more than 25,000 partners in Africa.
    These are the people that owns the cars, trucks, ambulances, tractors, and many other types of vehicles that the platform uses.
    Now that we have electric cars, we will be recruiting Partners who own electric vehicles.
    If you want to be in this business, it is simple:
    Buy an electric car and put it on the platform. Right now in Zimbabwe, Togo, Rwanda, South Africa, we are looking for electric car owners!
    We give them 85% of the cost of any ride.
    If any country wants to introduce Vaya Electric, we just need a minimum 20 cars, and we will set up the platform.

    Now, if you are in the DiasporaNation of Africa, buy an electric car, and send it home to us, right away!

    ComeOn, what are you waiting for!

    That little car in the picture could be yours, making you “a nice little nest egg back home”!



  18. Blessing Sanyanga writes,

    I am interested in converting petrol cars into electric cars. That could save throwing away the cars we already have.

    My reply,
    There is a young entrepreneur in Kenya who is doing just that with Landrovers, and Range Rovers used in the Safari business. Do your research to find him.

  19. Simbarashe Chimudende writes,

    High manufacturing cost

    Electric vehicles are advantageous over conventional vehicles, but cost of the former is higher than gas-powered vehicles. This is because these vehicles have not been mass produced and are yet to witness economies of scale. Also, the unavailability of infrastructure related to electric vehicle growth has proved to be a negative factor, which affects the growth of the electric vehicle market. In line with the same, manufacturing of electric vehicle requires a huge investment which also affects the growth of the market

    My reply,
    You have set your mind to finding the challenges, but not to finding solutions. To become a successful entrepreneur you will have to do the later, otherwise you will spend your entire life commenting on what you read about. And that is not the path of entrepreneurship.
    I want you to be an entrepreneur.

  20. Destiny Robert writes,

    So many eye opener here, I see great opportunities here, I will never lag behind on this industrial revolution

    My reply,
    Now go study electric cars, and maybe get specialist training in some aspect of it.

  21. #Pause:

    How entrepreneurs respond when a new industry emerges:

    When I lived in Zimbabwe, I became friendly with a white family that owned a well established motor vehicle distribution business, that had show rooms nationally at the time.
    One day I asked them how their business started:

    “Our great grand father came to this country when he was a young man, in the 1920’s. He travelled one day to South Africa, and saw cars for the first time. He immediately realized a new industry was being born. So he gave up farming, and started to train as a motor mechanic. When the wealthy guys started buying cars, he offered to repair and maintain them. He soon became one of the richest people in the country at the time.”
    ~This is the story of entrepreneurs, the world over. They see something, and they immediately take action. Remember Jack Ma’s first visit to America, when he was an English language teacher:
    He saw the Internet for the first time. What did he DO? He rushed back home and set up Alibaba! He did not say to himself “but the Chinese have no computers, and they are too poor. Or data is expensive!” People who talk like that will never, ever start anything, because they are already building barriers to themselves,beginning in their own minds:
    Every barrier begins in the mind-set!
    Don’t be like them. “I learn to do”!

  22. #Breaking News!

    Statement about my work from President Ramaphosa:



    Meanwhile open your Moments accounts, and let me follow you:
    I want to see those beautiful “moments” of your life,

    SASAI MOMENTS IS AVAILABLE ONLY ON THE SASAI APP [some think it is the greatest innovation we have added!!!]

    In future video

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