Updated on May 28, 2024


Created on August 16, 2016


Upcoming Update

Mellowcabs are electric minicabs that can be ordered via Mellowcabs app or website.

Tested By
  • Mellowcabs (now MellowVans)
Content Partners
  1. Siemens | Stiftung


Product Description

Mellowcabs are three-wheeled electric minicabs that are designed to provide an efficient on-demand taxi service in urban areas. They are eco-friendly with zero carbon emissions as they use a solar panel that produces up to 35% of the cab’s power and a battery to complement the cab’s needs. They are aimed to provide micro transport within a three miles radius. A single Mellowcab can provide over 120 km of transport per day. A mobile app connects the commuters and the cabs and payment can be made via the app. A promotional video is available here.

Target SDGs

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, Community

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Mellowcabs operates as the primary implementing company.

Manufacturing/Building Method

The cabs are manufactured in South Africa.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Passengers check nearest cabs from the Mellowcabs app, set a meeting point on the screen and hail a cab. Once the cab reaches, the driver greets the passenger by name and the passenger hops in. Upon destination, the application charges the passenger's card.

Distributions to Date Status


Design Specifications

The Mellowcab weighs 230 kg (or 507 lbs), with three wheels and powered by pedals and an electric assist motor. The protective shell is made from recycled-plastic compound, and the electric wheel-hub motors are internally geared. When you start pedaling, the motors engage. Mellowcabs Model L1 technical specifications: Battery Lithium Ion 200 Ah Motor 48 V / 5 kW Vehicle dimensions 3100 mm x 1200 mm x 1800 mm Frame chassis Aluminum Transmission mode 16:1 reduction gear Shell material Fiberglass composite Wheelbase 2800 mm Rear axle span 990 mm Maximum load capacity 415 kg Maximum forward speed 65 km/h Maximum backward speed with reverse gear, max backward speed 15 km/h

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Technical support is provided by the manufacturer.

Replacement Components

Replaceable components include the solar panel, battery, motor, chassis and frame.



Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Mellowcabs aims to provide low-cost and eco-friendly transport.

Vetted Performance Status

Unknown. Mellowcabs has however measured product performance through several trials in the field.


Towards improved safety, the MellowCab team has developed ultra-rigid roll cage, safety belts, and proximity sensors for the vehicles. Passengers are able to use lockable baggage areas underneath the seat to keep property safe. Drivers, after every shift, inspect the vehicle and complete a fault report. Maintenance is done on a scheduled basis. To ensure passenger safety, the cabs are monitored and tracked using a real-time GPS. Driving staff must complete an in-house training program, possess both a valid South Africa motorcycle license and a professional-driving permit and submit random alcohol and drug tests. Passengers can also submit their feedback via on-board tablet.

Complementary Technical Systems

This product will feature a phone app that will be connected to requesting and paying for the service. MellowCabs has expanded to also include MellowVans.

Academic Research and References

Dressler, A. and Bucher, J., 2018, Introducing a Sustainability Evaluation Framework based on the Sustainable Development Goals applied to Four Cases of South African Frugal Innovation, Business Strategy and Development, 1(4), pp. 276-285.

Joss, A., 2018, Design and Optimisation of a Hub Drive Electrical Motor for an L2 Class Electrical Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Transport Applications, M.E. Thesis,  Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University.

Empowering People. Network . n.d. MellowVans. Empowering People. Network. Siemans | Stiftung.

Mellowcabs. n.d. VC4A.

Mulligan, Gabriella. 2015. Technology to Tame Africa’s Deadly Transport Chaos. BBC, April 28, 2015.

Compliance with regulations

Mellowcabs conform to international roadworthy and safety standards.

Evaluation methods


Other Information


Comments from the Community


  1. E4C.COMMENTS says:

    Noel Wilson says:

    Academic research see ibike .org as an example. WBR would also have some reports on the Buffalo by now.

  2. Noel Wilson says:

    Complementary Tech systems could benefit from dynamos/ag equipment designed to work with a bicycle.

  3. Noel Wilson says:

    Good other information section but some of those links should go in the ‘research’ or other fields rather than other? (and are contrary to what it states in Academic Research’)

  4. Noel Wilson says:

    I dont think the Mellow Cabs should be defined as ‘Personal Transport’ it is more public transport or a mobility service.

  5. Noel Wilson says:

    Vetted performance could include limitations of pure electric vehicle (if they run out of charge they can’t move) and the need for charging infrastructure?

  6. Noel Wilson says:

    There is likely some relevant research on electric vehicle distribution/legislation/impact.

Leave a Reply

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