South Africa’s uYilo Electric Mobility Kick Start Fund Call For Proposals Now Open

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We get a lot of comments from our readers in the comments section stating that they love to see all the articles showcasing homegrown solutions across Africa, especially when it comes to electric vehicles and associated infrastructure developed with local insights for local conditions and market needs. South Africa’s uYilo is helping catalyze this ecosystem in South Africa.

South Africa’s national uYilo Electric Mobility Programme was established in 2013 as a multi-stakeholder, collaborative program focused on enabling, facilitating, and mobilizing electric mobility in South Africa. uYilo is an initiative of the Technology Innovation Agency, a public entity of the Department of Science and Innovation. uYilo’s corporate satellite offices are located in Johannesburg and facilities headquartered in Port Elizabeth.

As part of this initiative and its mandate to enable, facilitate, and mobilize eMobility in South Africa, uYilo has been running a Kick Start funding program since 2014. The Kick Start funding is awarded to qualifying eMobility and assistive projects.  The 2021 uYilo Kick Start funding call is now open for eMobility and related projects to apply — and receive as much as R1 million ($75,000) in grant funding aimed at assisting projects reach commercialization into the market. “The switch to electric mobility is changing the transport landscape globally,” says uYilo Director Hiten Parmar. “A critical part of this transition for South Africa is to have localised content, promote local industry and encourage local job creation. This is both to reduce the reliance on imported technology and products, and to extract the maximum benefit from the minerals and other resources that are abundant in Africa.”

“Creating employment opportunities is a crucial part of improving the economy – and jobs in future growth sectors with emerging technology are highly desirable,” says Parmar. “The aim for all Kick Start funded projects is to facilitate the development to commercially-viable products, with associated job creation.”

All projects in the eMobility ecosystem and value-chain are welcome to apply. Each will be evaluated according to specific criteria and then managed throughout the development process to reach a set of milestones in order to achieve a successful outcome. Applications must be received by midday 30 June 2021 in order to be considered for funding, at which point each will be evaluated for shortlisting to pitching sessions before final contracting for funding. Application forms and other relevant documentation is available on the uYilo website. Applications should be received by 30 June.

“With the global push to electric mobility there is a limited lifespan to the internal combustion engine – and this will have an impact locally. There is perhaps a decade left internationally for ICE and South Africa has only that long to ensure our local eMobility sector is market ready,” says Parmar. “The Kick Start fund is one of the instruments which drives the local development of this sector.”

Some of the previous approved projects include:

Stellenbosch University and MellowCabs: Battery Management System, Charger, Drive System                           

We wrote an article on Mellowcabs’ MelloVans last year and you can have a look here.

GridCars: AC Charge Point and Server

We wrote an article on GridCars last year and you have a look at that here as well.

The other previous approved projects were:

  • Lattech Systems: Development of an electric vehicle-focused telematics unit that is CAN-BUS connected and over-the-air manageable
  • Manganese Metal Company: Economically feasible process route determination for the production of high purity manganese sulphate
  • Battery Power Industries: Design and development of 18650 cell-based battery module for use in battery-powered mining vehicles
  • EVBackOffice (QBSoft): Electric vehicle charge point back-office for remote management, reporting, monitoring and diagnostics of electric vehicle charge points
  • Ubun2Tech:  Battery-powered off-road electric trailer daisy-chained to an off-road electric quad vehicle utilized for rural agricultural environments
  • Intelligent Machines: Induction motors and controllers for Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems in heavy vehicles
  • Microcare: Development of a locally designed and manufactured 50kW DC Fast Charger compatible with CHAdeMO and CCS-2 standards
  • PowerMote:  Two-motor variant drive system on a 4×4 electric vehicle with integrated with range extender and solar charger
  • Stellenbosch University and MellowCabs:  Battery Management System, Charger, Drive System
  • MLT Inverters: Karoo70 hybrid inverter for second life EV battery applications
  • EWIZZ: Development of core EV management system, unit, cloud
  • PowerMote: Development of a synchronous reluctance motor and power electronics controller drive system for utility electric vehicles
  • University of Western Cape: Development of a prototype electric vehicle lithium-ion battery pack with cell integration and battery management.
  • Golden Arrow Bus Services: Detailed feasibility study and pilot project with electric bus operations to guide public transportation

“Golden Arrow Bus Service in Cape Town is currently piloting an electric bus which will soon be open to public use,” says Parmar. “This project was one of the most recent to receive uYilo Kick Start funding and started as a detailed public transport feasibility study which has now progressed to this pilot phase.”

All images courtesy of uYilo

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