Clean energy is one of the most sought after solutions in the world. Air pollution is considered one of the hazardous occurrences to the environment as the climate change presents a number of unforeseen instances. The almost urgent need for clean energy has spurred innovation and growth as most industries adopt to more environmentally-friendly solutions.
Kenneth Guantanai, a 34 year old University of Nairobi lumni has responded to this need by developing a battery-powered electric handcart that has a trans-axle DC motor and controller system. Through his company, Auto Truck East Africa, Guantanai has developed what is considered an environmentally friendly solution to a present need.
You will hardly walk a few metres in Nairobi before you meet someone on the road transporting a heavy load on the traditional handcarts, popularly known as “Mkokoteni”. LIF provides efficiency in transportation while at the same time saving the user from muscular pain and back injuries often associated with pushing the Mkokoteni.
LIF uses Kinetic energy and recharges itself with continuous use. This means no fuel is needed to use it, hence no exhaust or pollution to the environment. He is also using the same invention to develop electric TukTuks which move seamlessly with no emissions or noise to the environment.
“LIF has made me develop very strong business skills that I believe will be the key to drive my company to prosper LIF also built my confidence enough to initiate high ranking partnerships with established companies like KVM. It also allowed me to convince high ranking government officials for favorable business policies with a successful debate in Parliament where my products were earmarked for tax waiver and issuance of an assemblers certificate,” Guantanai said.
Guantanai and his team first sold 10 battery-powered handcarts to test the market before launching the device on a full scale basis.The reception of the hand carts has been positive, and to date, he has made sales of up to Sh1,000,000.
Guantanai’s invention helped secure his appointment to the NYS as Head of Innovation, Technology and Enterprise Development in November 2018. He also secured a Sh5,350,000 grant from the government to advance his invention.
With support from his coach, Guantanai is exploring partnerships with three European supply chain manufacturers for his handcart. He has also signed a legal agreement with one of Kenya’s major vehicle manufacturers to create a production line for Auto Truck East Africa’s products with an aim of reducing production costs.Auto Truck will also work with a major government engineering company who will mass produce local components for the handcarts.
Guantanai and his team have gotten significant recognition for his work. The innovation saw them win the Transformative Urban Mobility Project that is funded by Deutshe Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).