Mohamed Samir, a Sudanese entrepreneur, joyfully observes as laborers construct brightly colored rickshaws, which are unusual in the North African country since they are powered by electricity to reduce corners. Tuk-tuk rickshaws and motorbikes with attached trailers have long been a common and economical mode of transportation in Sudan. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people crisscross the roads of Khartoum, the capital.
However, with Sudan during a severe recession exacerbated by political upheaval after a military takeover in October, the expense of operating gasoline-oil engines has risen dramatically. "Those using the gasoline rickshaws are in misery, and they understand the importance of what we're providing," said Samir, an engineer from North Khartoum.
There is also a significant environmental consequence.
In a study from 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme cautioned that smoky gasoline-powered vehicles produce "substantial air pollution and noise" and contribute to climate change. According to Samir, modern electric motors meet three of the UN's SDGs: health protection, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection.
He continued, "It's also a quieter version."
'Daily earnings have increased by a factor of two.'
Samir battled for decades to get his company back in operation, but once he did, trade was robust, with over 100 cargo rickshaws and a dozen passenger rickshaws sold last year. Since the revolution, fuel prices have almost doubled. Furthermore, frequent gas shortages have caused cars to wait for hours at gas pumps.
Motorists claim that they make less money than they invest.
Bakry Mohamed, a fruit seller, sold his old petrol-powered tuk-tuk and acquired an electric tricycle last year.
The power of the sun
The three-wheelers took around 8 hours on a single charge, with a tuk-tuk tricycle covering 80-100 kilometers (50-60 miles) and a rickshaw covering even more. Sudan's power generation, meanwhile, has deteriorated as a result of the recession, with regular power outages.
The government raised the cost of electricity in January, resulting in a 500% spike in home bills. Nonetheless, Samir claims that electric rickshaws are more cost-efficient than others. "The cost of recharging batteries is still less than the fuel cost," Samir explained, noting that a typical electric charge costs less than 1⁄2 a liter of gasoline.
Others have emancipated them from reliance on the electrical grid by turning skywards to Sudan's year-round sunshine. Amjad Hamdan Hameidan, who purchased many electric-powered rickshaws, uses solar panels to power his three-wheeler. Hameidan explained, "I utilize mobile solar panels." "We maintain the batteries' charge by placing them on the rooftop of the rickshaw while riding."
Samir claims that his company is assisting Sudan in keeping up with the rest of the globe. "All that runs on petroleum will eventually be replaced by power generation," Samir said. "Now we have a chance to catch pace with most of the world."