The Future of Taxis : Interview with Neil du Preez (of Mellowcabs )

Neil du Preez Mellowcabs‘I have always been interested in public transportation, and what it can mean for the individuals and the economy . ’ said  Neil du Preez,  Founder & Chief  Executive Officer of Mellowcabs, South Africa.

Mellowcabs, an advertising and transportation company , based in cape town, is the brainchild behind the frantic revolution of the transportation Industry in South Africa. Mellowcabs manufactures exquisite, electric, mini-cabs .

Not too long ago, Mellowcabs released its primary product christened as : ‘Mellowcab’. Mellowcab is a 100% electric controlled mini-cab. The cabs are efficient to run, and require less maintenance. Its chief purpose is to reduce  vehicular traffic and also, bolster the taxi Industry in South Africa. In addition, it decreases the high rate of unemployment within the South African community by training selected group of people interested in chauffeuring passengers to their destination via Mellowcab. The mini –cabs are , according to Mr. Neil, manufactured and operated within South Africa.

  In order to get a clear idea of Mellowcabs profound initiative, Silicon Africa  interviewed Mr. Neil du Preez two weeks ago. During the Interview, He emphasized on the benefits of mellow cab, its features and other important factors regarding the taxi industry in South Africa.

Silicon Africa  :  could you give us a better description of your company?

Mr. Neil :  Mellowcabs manufactures and operates new electric mini-cabs that provide an on-demand and affordable taxi service. These services can be provided through our mobile app, call-centre or website. We have dual income sources, passenger fares, (we provide a more affordable option than traditional cabs) and selling advertising space on, and in the vehicles. Advertising on our vehicles have proven to be very powerful and lucrative. Operating the vehicles is significantly more efficient and affordable than traditional gas-burning taxis. At the moment, We are in a development phase. We are designing and building a brand new generation of Mellowcab with world-leading technology and capabilities.

Silicon Africa : What prompted you to venture into techpreneurship?   

Mr. Neil : I’ve always been interested in public transport systems, and what It could mean for individuals and the economy. Growing up in South Africa, we didn’t have access to public transport. Then, after living abroad for a few years, I started seeing transit systems in a new light.

Silicon Africa : How many employees do you have so afar and how do you work as team to produce the right result?

Mr. Neil :   We have a core team of contracted engineers, graphic designers, industrial designers and consultants .Plus, we are in the process of setting up our factory. The factory will triple our employee list.

Silicon Africa : What’s your style of leadership and why do you perceive it to be the ideal form of leadership? 

Mr. Neil : I’m trying to be dynamic and alternative in the way I approach things. I want all employees to bring their own creativity and suggestions to the table. However, everybody needs to understand our clear vision : which is to bring Mellowcabs to every major city in the world.

Silicon Africa : Could you brief us on Mellowcabs ?  

Mr. Neil : Mellowcabs are not pedicabs. They are 100% electric vehicle, no pedaling, just pure electric performance. We’ve gone through extensive roadworthy testing, and comply with United Nations roadworthy standards. Hence, we can operate legally on any road. 80% of all urban taxi trips are shorter than 3 miles, which is an extremely inefficient use of fuel burning engines. However, it would be ideal for electric taxis.

Also, we provide an on demand taxi service through our mobile app, website or call centre.
The cabs are made in South Africa via recycled materials.
The cabs are very efficient to run, require very little maintenance, and are fully electric. There is no fuel costs involved.  Therefore, transport could be significantly cheaper than large fuel-burning vehicles.

 

Silicon Africa : How do you intend to improve transportation in South Africa?

Mr. Neil : By providing Mellowcab services – Safe, efficient, affordable, quality…plus a whole lot of cool !!!

Silicon Africa :  What are some of the unique features of mellowcab?

Mr. Neil : We have packed the cabs with technology like : regenerative braking, and illuminated body panels technology. Also, we have embedded LED lights into the shells to light up the entire cab,  greatly enhancing its advertising value.
It has all the safety features such as safety belts, roll cages etc.
We can also adapt the shells quite easily, not only to stay fresh, but to apply the vehicle to other uses such as a delivery vehicle.
We are working on protective sides that would isolate passengers in adverse weather conditions.
Moreover, We have developed an app which would enable passengers to call a cab, check its position and even pay for it.

Silicon Africa : How significant is Mellowcabs product to the tourism industry in South Africa?   

Mr. Neil :  It will revolutionize transport in some tourism areas.

Silicon Africa : What are some of the achievements of Mellowcabs ?

Mr. Neil : (1)   Winner of the International Smart Cities category of  the  Challenge Cup , , supported by the US Chamber of Commerce (Washington DC)

(2)  Official  World Design Capital 2014 Project

(3)Winner 2013 Gauteng Innovation Competition

(4)  Winner of the  U – Start Africa Competition

(5) Proud Recipient of green flag for environmental excellence from Western Cape Premier Helen Zille

(6) Accenture Innovation Challenge Finalist

 Silicon Africa :  How can our readers contact you? 

Mr. Neil :  Follow us on Facebook and twitter, @Mellowcabs, or our website : www.mellowcabs.com

 

 

Michael Aboagye

About Michael Aboagye

Michael wears many hats. He works as a UI designer, UX designer, and information designer. In addition, he is brilliant at 'creating' and 'curating' good content for web pages as well as producing persuasive words for companies and firms yearning for global market exposure , constant traffic, and higher leads

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