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Going Green

Going Green

So you want to zoot around without over-zapping the environment? Try these for size…

Compiled by Ian Macleod

uber coolÜBER COOL

Built on the sort of chassis you might have pushed yourself around on as a kid, the Uber 800W Citi packs 800 watts, good for as much as 35km/h for 4-6 hours. Ventilated disc brakes and 12-inch inflatable tyres also make it a substantial step up in comfort and power from smaller models designed for recreation and kiddies. Certification as road legal in the EU is another sign of quality. www.puzey.co.za


With a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer passenger cell, you know this BMW i3 means business. The little Beamer is fully electric, producing zero local emissions. Always a concern with eco-cars, the range of this five-door is 130-150km in typical driving conditions, making use of a power centre charged from the mains at home. For cuteness, comfort and cutting-edge technology, this is the ultimate. One drawback is the thoroughly uneconomical price tag starting at R532 500.  www.bmw.co.za



Aah, yes, childhood memories on two wheels. The honest bicycle. It comes standard with wind in your hair, a sense of freedom and fitness as perks. Emissions are primarily warm breath and eco-friendly sweat. Available… well, everywhere. Try a custom-built, single-speed from a local producer. Starting from the price of a tank of petrol. www.whippetcyclingco.com

Power on


COUNTRY LIFE contributor Chris Marais claims, donkeys “are sentimental souls with a particular love for old-time country and western music”. While we can’t guarantee their musical taste, they certainly come across as sentimental. It’s those big, doey eyes and the undeserved perception of them as the ugly ducklings of the equine world. They also can pull upwards of 400kg on a cart. Expect to pay about R2 000 for the latest model. Keeping your steed happy and healthy will cost you about as much as a tank of petrol every month. Adopt a donkey: www.donkeysanctuary.co.za

retro steed


Okay, this one may be on the radical side. It’s 1 200 watts powering a Canadian maple board and doesn’t sound like the typical COUNTRY LIFER’s ideal alternative transport choice. But admit it, the idea sounds fun. Weighing in at under 6kg with a cruising distance of up to 30km, the Dirt Assassin Electric Skateboard is also impressively economical. www.smashtronics.co.za

skate electrics


scoot offStyled very much like the groundbreaking Segway, this City Cross Electric Scooter is one trendy way to cut carbon. Balanced by gyroscopes, it can handle a climbing angle of 30 degrees, can hit 25km/h and will go for 25-50km per charge. The lithium-ion battery needs 4-6 hours to ‘fill the tank’. Riding takes some getting used to, but once you’ve got it, this gizmo is nimble and endlessly entertaining. www.rbjgreenmobility.com






A simple but rather elegant solution: a bicycle with an electric motor called the Schwinn Transit. Cape Town-based Relectro imports the conversion kits and can fit them to pretty much any bike on the market. You’ll then get 35-60km on a charge at about 25km/h. They even stock a folding bike for ultimate mobility. The debonair, retro look of the Schwinn is a good match for the major target market of UCT students (on their vast, hilly campus).  www.relectro.co.za



We’ve all seen these and shaken our heads in something between admiration and annoyance. Admiration at the niftiness of the idea; annoyance at the cheeky nipper who cut you off in the fresh produce aisle. But it’s a far healthier pursuit than cellphone games. Just a few rules: no adults and the models with motion-activated lights are not allowed. www.heelys.com 

Put foot


Given that South Africa trails green transport pioneers like Denmark (where some 60 per cent of parliamentarians cycle to work), our regulatory infrastructure is rather confused. Leonard Stoch, founder of Relectro explains how the Motor Vehicle Act and the SABS contradict each other. “According to the MVA,” he explains, “all e-bikes are motor vehicles and would probably require a roadworthy certificate, as well as a number plate. According to the SABS, any e-bike with a motor of 250W or less, and not capable of doing 25kph on the flat without pedal assistance, can be regarded as a bicycle and hence roadworthiness would not be an issue.” Be sure to confirm any vehicle you purchase won’t get you in trouble with the authorities.

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