The African Solar Taxi is being developed in a collaboration between international partners who have a track record of successful innovation:
CESVI is a secular, independent, Italian Non Government Organisation (NGO) working internationally with the moral principle of human solidarity and the ideal of social justice, which transform into humanitarian aid and development, reinforcing an affirmation of universal human rights. CESVI believes that aid to populations who are destitute because of underdevelopment or because of war, natural disasters and environmental disasters, does not help only those who suffer, but also contributes to the welfare of all of us on the planet, our “common home” to preserve for future generations.
St Albert’s Mission Hospital is a District Hospital opened in 1964 with 85 beds, and has subsequently expanded to 140 beds. It is located on the escarpment overlooking the Zambezi Valley in northern Zimbabwe near the Mozambique border. It services a population of over 120,000 people. It includes a rehabilitation unit; male, female and children’s wards; a maternity unit; neonatal unit; small staff ward; a septic and aseptic surgical theatre; outpatient care area; biochemistry and microbiology laboratories, a pharmacy, kitchen, Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center (VCT) and home-based care program. Each year, St. Albert’s admits about 5,000 patients, treats about 40,000 outpatients and delivers about 2,600 babies.
Team Trevis an incorporated association formed in Adelaide, South Australia in 2010 to develop and promote electric vehicles. It borrowed Trev (Two seater Renewable Energy Vehicle) from UniSA, significantly upgraded it and then drove it 28,000km around the world in 2010/11 in Zero Race, using just $400 worth of electricity. Team Trev members have a long history of designing, building and racing solar cars for the World Solar Challenge, and are keen to make electric vehicles practical for everyday use.
The University of South Australia (UniSA) has been developing solar and electric cars since 1993. Students and staff from disciplines including industrial design, engineering, mathematics and computer science have worked together with the wider community to design and build two solar cars and an electric car. Their first solar car, Ned, was the first 2-seater solar car with side-by-side seating to run in the World Solar Challenge, and came first in its class in the 1999 Challenge. Students at UniSA also designed and built Trev, which was driven around the world by Team Trev in 2010-11. UniSA has students and staff working on vehicle design, vehicle engineering and logistics for the African Solar Taxi project.
CESVI and St Albert’s Mission Hospital have a long and successful partnership, delivering substantially improved health outcomes to the people of northern Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique. Together they pioneered the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) in Zimbabwe, which has reduced the transmission of HIV from mothers to children, for babies born in medical facilities versus those born in villages without formal medical assistance. They also developed a 120 bed Mothers’ Shelter (recently renamed Waiting Mothers’ Home) at St Albert’s Hospital, in which pregnant women can reside in their final weeks of pregnancy, so that they can birth in safe conditions with proper medical care.
CESVI approached Team Trev in early 2012 to help tackle the difficult problems which contribute to maternal mortality and morbidity in northern Zimbabwe. Team Trev, CESVI and St Albert’s met in St Albert’s in February 2013 to scope the design of the African Solar Taxi, and to plan the Stage 1 and Stage 2 trials of the vehicles and their charging infrastructure, commencing in 2015.